Kate Linnegar, who is accused of anti-Semitism, has lost her bid at becoming a councillor for Labour in the recent local elections.
Could it be a sign that anti-Semitism is having an effect on Labour?
Linnegar failed to win the vote, garnering just 785 votes, meaning Labour lost what was seen as a “safe” seat to the Conservatives, with Tory candidate David Ibotoye winning with 1,086 votes.
The Conservatives have taken Penhill from Labour at the @SwindonCouncil elections. This was a seat contested by Kate Linnegar – the Labour MP candidate for North Swindon
— BBC Wiltshire (@BBCWiltshire) May 2, 2019
Importantly, Kate Linnegar is also Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for Swindon North, which means she is due to be fighting for a seat in the next general election. Following Linnegar’s failed bid to win what was seen as a “safe” seat for Labour in the council elections, however, this now could change who Labour puts forward in the next General Election.
Labour previously carried out an investigation into Linnegar’s alleged anti-Semitism and they took no action again her. It appears they may not have all the evidence that we have compiled.
It seems voters in Swindon may be more adept at understanding anti-Semitism than the Labour leadership. Could it be that the anti-Semitism that Linnegar espouses has had an impact on her election bid?
Kate Linnegar’s alleged anti-Semitism
CUFI reported last year that Kate Linnegar, North Swindon’s Labour MP-hopeful, has been linked with a Twitter account @SwindonPeoples, which made anti-Semitic tweets in 2016. On top of this, more evidence emerged that Linnegar may have anti-Semitic leanings.
Linnegar was the Chair for the Swindon People’s Assembly during 2016 when the account for the group tweeted out statements such as, “most know Zionists are FAKE Jews” and called Zayn Malik, “Another Zion slave, to spread their sexual mind control games with the next generation.”
Kate Linnegar, Labour's parliamentary candidate in marginal North Swindon, denies sending these shocking tweets. But her face is the account's profile picture… https://t.co/POBh0FpFIo pic.twitter.com/oLyeCJtKYR
— Alex Wickham (@alexwickham) June 19, 2018
The account featured Kate Linnegar’s face in its profile picture, yet South West Labour party spokesperson told Guido Fawkes that, “Kate Linnegar has no involvement with these tweets or the running of this twitter account. Her image has been used in the profile picture without her consent.”
However, CUFI can reveal that Kate Linnegar was actively involved in overseeing the Twitter account and also appeared to approve of her picture being used by it.
On 20 December 2015 a post from Kate Linnegar on the Swindon People’s Assembly (SAP) Facebook page, for which she is an admin, lists the agenda items for their monthly meeting. The first item on the agenda includes “twitter”. As the Chair of SAP at the time, she clearly had oversight of the Twitter account at the time these anti-Semitic tweets were made, although she may not herself have tweeted them.
In another post on 12 March 2016, a link to the SAP Twitter account (@SwindonPeople) was posted on the SAP Facebook page. The post clearly displays the profile picture of the Twitter account with Kate Linnegar’s face being visible. Kate Linnegar herself “liked” the post.
If she objected to her face being used, she could have raised an objection at that point, but she didn’t. Instead, the “like” appears to give approval. Also at that time, Linnegar was the Chair of the Swindon People’s Assembly which ran the Twitter account.
In fact, the post pictured above states that the Twitter account is not only the official account for Swindon People’s Assembly but is “linked” with “62 known People’s Assembly National groups on Twitter”.
Clearly, Linnegar had oversight of the Twitter account when the anti-Semitic tweets were published. She discussed Twitter in a meeting in the months before and liked her picture and the promotion of the Twitter account in the month after the anti-Semitic tweets were made.
Therefore the statement given by the Labour South West spokesperson appears inaccurate.
Speaking to the Swindon Advertiser following the revelations, Kate Linnegar said, “The Twitter account was set up when we started Swindon People’s Assembly some years ago. The person running it was so inactive at tweeting that we forgot it even existed. We haven’t seen this person at Swindon People’s Assembly for a long time.”
“When we were alerted to what had been tweeted, we asked the person to delete it as the views were not those of Swindon People’s Assembly, me or the Labour Party. This person is not a Labour Party member.”
The Twitter account was deleted within minutes of the report by Guido Fawkes.
Whilst these tweets are disturbing, it is easy for Linnegar to try and distance herself from the account (despite failing to do so based on the evidence above). What is harder to distance herself from are tweets and Facebook posts she has made herself.
On Facebook, Linnegar called anti-Semitism in the Labour party a “distraction”.
One link shared by Kate Linnegar is to the blog of Norman Finkelstein, a prolific Israel hater. The blog post is titled, “Finkelstein Breaks His Silence. Tells Holocaust-Mongers, “It is time to crawl back into your sewer!”
In the post, Finklestein defends Labour MP Naz Shah’s tweet which called for Israel to be moved to America and claimed Israelis were both “foreign entities” in the land but also the source of the Middle East problems. The tweet originated from Finkelstein and defends it saying that MPs like John Mann who called Shah out on her anti-Semitism were, “desiccated Labour apparatchiks” who were “dragging the Nazi Holocaust through the mud for the sake of their petty jostling for power and position.”
Naz Shah herself called it “anti-Semitic” and “indefensible”.
The post Linnegar shared also goes on to defend the comments of Ken Livingstone who was suspended from the Labour party for saying “Hitler supported Zionism”. Livingstone eventually left the party to avoid any further problems. Finklestein’s post also claims that accusations are anti-Semitism are purely “political”.
Another post from 2016 reveals that Linnegar liked a post attacking Labour MP John Mann in which Israel was compared to Nazi Germany and the Jewish State was referred to as a “so-called country”.
Linnegar also defended Jackie Walker, who was suspended from Labour and also lost her position in Momentum over her anti-Semitic comments.
Another post that Kate Linnegar shared on the same Facebook page is a website article says, “accusations of antisemitism are currently being weaponised to attack” Corbyn’s Labour party.
Linnegar also liked a post by the notoriously anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada entitled “How Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis”.
Linnegar also tried to dismiss accusations of anti-Semitism against Labour as the “media… manipulating the population” on her personal Twitter account.
On 28 March 2018, Linnegar tweeted a quote from Noam Chomsky which reads, “One must admire the incredible skills the media have in manipulating the population. They’ve managed to convince many that the most passionate Anti-Racist Campaigner of the last 40 years, Jeremy Corbyn, is actually Pro-Racist and Anti-Semitic.”
These repeated posts suggest that Linnegar views the very real anti-Semitism within Labour as simply a “smear”.
The Swindon People’s Assembly Facebook page, which Linnegar is an admin for, also includes anti-Semitic posts of a different nature. One member shared the link to his own blog post, titled, “From one Israeli pogrom to another”. The article accuses Israel of carrying out “pogroms” against the Palestinian people.
What is so shocking about this is that the word pogrom was first recorded in 1882 and was used to explain the anti-Semitic actions of the Russian Empire from 1881-1883, where Jews were slaughtered or expelled for being Jewish. The word was literally created to describe the genocide of the Jews.
To take this word and use it to describe Israel’s actions of self-defence, which are in no way genocidal or murderous, is pure anti-Semitism.
Kate Linnegar shows a consistent pattern of being associated with anti-Semites and for trying to defend anti-Semites. Linnegar oversaw the Twitter account of Swindon People’s Assembly when it tweeted its anti-Semitic comments and now it appears that she lied about her knowledge or involvement, including her approval of her picture. So, will Labour take any action?
To finish, here is a picture of Corbyn with Linnegar from 2014. Linnegar is holding the banner for Swindon People’s Assembly whilst Corbyn is wearing his “Free Palestine” badge for good measure.