Exposed: conspiracy posts of Unite's hard left

Allies of general secretary candidate Steve Turner defend Palestinian suicide bombers and attack Israel


Unite members backing Steve Turner, who is standing to be elected general secretary of Britain’s largest trade union, have shared hundreds of Facebook posts riddled with conspiracy theories and inflammatory language about Israel and Zionism.

The posts, passed to the JC by the Twitter activist Gnasher Jew, include cartoons likening Israel to the Nazis.

Many feature conspiracy theories while others brand Israel a “terrorist state”, “evil” or “genocidal maniacs”.

In one post, Unite Branch Secretary Joanne Harris accused Jews of seeking to “play the victim” whilst being the “oppressor”. Ms Harris is the vice chair of United Left, the group supporting Assistant General Secretary Steve Turner’s bid for the top job.

In 2016, she defended Palestinian suicide bombers, saying their murderous acts were “born out of desperation and a will to reclaim the land which was stolen from them”.

She also praised a colleague who railed against “antisemitic nonsense” and likened Israel to the Nazis.

The colleague said that “Israel’s leaders do the same to the Palestinians as what Hitler did to the Jewish. Today Israel is the same with what Hitler did, he was a fascist … Israel does a fascist work”.

In response, Ms Harris declared: “Very well said.”

She also liked an offensive post that said that “Zionists have always wanted control of all humanity”.

In another post, Ms Harris stated: “I am no Holocaust denier nor am I a Jew hater.

“I abhor what the Nazis did to the Jews in WW2 but that does not give them the right to do what they are doing to the Palestinians.” She branded Israel an “apartheid” state, engaged in “racism on a grand scale”.

Meanwhile, Unite convenor Arfan Hamid, who also supports Mr Turner’s election bid, shared an article in 2015 that claimed the leader of Isis was a Mossad agent.

In 2019, he shared another article that asked: “Have you ever wondered why Isis never attacked Israel?”

He also posted a cartoon in 2018 of a Jewish bulldozer driving over the West Bank with the caption: “Israel IS apartheid.” Another picture he shared stated: “The world stopped Nazism, the world stopped apartheid, the world must stop Zionism.”

Unite regional coordinating officer Cathy Rudderforth branded Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer a “neo-liberal Zionist” in one post, and included the phrase “from the river to the sea” in another. Another Steve Turner supporter, Ms Rudderforth has shared conspiracy theories about Israel paying £1million to “undermine Corbyn”. Last year, she shared a post that claimed leading Labour politicians were receiving “backhanders from the Israel lobby”.

In a discussion about the death of a Palestinian girl in 2020, Ms Rudderforth agreed with another union member who called the child “another victim of Starmer’s Nazi allies”.

There is no suggestion that Steve Turner has supported any of these controversial posts.

While the Labour leadership is hoping for the appointment of centrist candidate Gerard Coyne as Unite’s new general secretary this month, the left has rallied behind Mr Turner. He emerged at the favoured candidate of the hard left after Howard Beckett was forced out of the race, following his call for Home Secretary Priti Patel to be deported.

A Unite spokeswoman said the union had received no complaints regarding the Facebook posts.

She added: “Should we do so, they will be investigated in line with our rule prohibiting inciting discrimination or intolerance on grounds of race, ethnic origin or religion.

“Members found guilty under this rule can be expelled.”

The results of Unite’s election for general secretary will be announced on August 26.

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