UK left activists attended events with far right antisemites | News

Former Labour party members have regularly met elements of the far right to discuss and propagate antisemitic conspiracy theories, an undercover investigation has found.

Infiltration of the conspiracy theorist group Keep Talking found that Jeremy Corbyn supporters and confidantes of former Labour MPs have attended meetings addressed by Holocaust deniers.

During one gathering in London last year, suspended Labour supporters heard James Thring, an infamous antisemite linked to the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, speak openly and unchallenged about Holocaust denial.

A covert recording of Thring at the meeting captured him claiming that no deaths were recorded at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, where 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were systematically murdered.

James Thring at Keep Talking event

“The archives from the listening posts show no evidence that they heard anything about deaths in Auschwitz; we didn’t know that this was going on … because it wasn’t,” Thring can be heard saying.

Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope Not Hate, which along with the Jewish charity Community Security Trust monitored Keep Talking over three years, said: “Our investigation shows what the politics of some of the far left and the far right have in common – antisemitism. It’s important that these groups are not just seen as eccentric or harmless; they give conspiracies a space to survive and grow and they encourage people to keep disseminating falsehoods.”

Lowles warned that conspiracy theories, amplified and spread online, held the potential to be transmitted into mainstream politics and could cause real-world harm.

The gunman responsible for last Thursday’s murder of nine people in two shisha bars in the German town of Hanau left behind a manifesto containing delusional theories, including antisemitic conspiracy theories and Islamophobic passages. He expressed a desire to annihilate the citizens of a number of Middle Eastern, Asian and North African countries.

Among ex-Labour members at Keep Talking events – though not the one attended by Thring – was Elleanne Green. Once a Labour member in Westminster, Green founded the secret Facebook group Palestine Live, exposed in 2018 as featuring Holocaust denial and theories that Israel was responsible for 9/11.

Corbyn and other senior Labour party figures had been members of the Facebook group at various points since its creation in 2013. Green, suspended by the party in July 2018, accompanied ex-MP Chris Williamson to court when he sued the party in an antisemitism row. Undercover investigators first noticed Green at a Keep Talking event in September 2018.

During the meeting at which Thring spoke, on 5 March 2019 at a Kentish Town cafe, ex-Labour party member Peter Gregson was the guest speaker with a speech titled: “The loss of freedom of speech on Israel, thanks to bogus antisemitism claims.”

Gregson, who was thrown out of the GMB union and suspended by the Labour party over antisemitic allegations, has founded a group called Labour Against Zionism and Islamophobic Racism (Lazir).

Also present in the audience was Ian Fantom, co-founder of Keep Talking and a 9/11 “truther”, who has appeared alongside Piers Corbyn, older brother of the Labour leader, at a Keep Talking event.

Footage taken during the Kentish Town meeting has also identified Gill Kaffash, former secretary of the Camden branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, whose membership application was rejected by the Labour party in 2016 because she had promoted Holocaust revisionism.

Other Keep Talking attendees include Holocaust denier and far-right activist Alison Chabloz, who the Jewish News reported in 2015 became a supporter of the Labour party and “declared loyalty to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in several blog posts”.

Chabloz was convicted of antisemitism in 2018 after publishing videos of herself singing antisemitic songs denying the Holocaust at a meeting of the London Forum, a far-right organisation with links to the US alt-right.

Another speaker at Keep Talking meetings was Israeli writer Miko Peled, who addressed the group after appearing at a Labour party conference fringe event in Brighton in 2019.

During a Labour party conference in 2017 he reportedly told a fringe event that: “This is about free speech, the freedom to criticise and to discuss every issue, whether it’s the Holocaust: yes or no, Palestine, the liberation, the whole spectrum.”

The other co-founder of Keep Talking, Nick Kollerstrom, is a Holocaust denier who has referred to “storybook gas chambers” when describing Auschwitz.

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