Hard-left attacks Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after donation from Jewish philanthropist

Party member says leader is 'in the pocket of the Israel lobby' after Sir Trevor Chinn gives £50,000


Labour members and far-left activists have lashed out at party leader Sir Keir Starmer for receiving a £50,000 donation to his leadership campaign from a Jewish philanthropist.

Among the Labour members to attack him was Darius Cooper, a former executive member of Hackney South Labour Party, who said Sir Keir had been "bought" and was "in the pocket of the Israel lobby" after the donation from Sir Trevor Chinn was registered on April 9.

Sir Trevor, a member of West London Synagogue, has also given a donation to Lisa Nandy, Labour’s new shadow foreign secretary.

Mr Cooper said of the donations: "Our leader, shadow foreign sec and shadow home secretary all in the pocket of Israel."

Jewish Leadership Council vice president Sir Trevor has long been associated with the Labour Friends of Israel and BICOM groups and has also donated to charities working for reconciliation and peace between Jews and Arabs including the New Israel Fund and Yachad.

He also has a distinguished career initially with Lex Garages, then the RAC and as a senior adviser for private equity group CVC Capital Partners.

Sir Trevor, who was knighted under a Conservative government in 1990, also made donations to many leading Labour figures in the past including Tony Blair and Tom Watson.

But Mr Cooper’s comment that Sir Keir was "in the pocket of Israel’’ was echoed by numerous Labour members in recent days, who repeated the trope about Israeli influence, while some vowed to quit the party over the matter.

Responding on social media to complaints he was guilty of using a "classic antisemitic trope" in relation to Sir Keir, Mr Cooper wrote: "Let’s be clear. I am not suggesting these MPs are being controlled by Israel or that Israel is ‘pulling the strings'.

"Trevor Chinn is a well known pro-Israel lobbyist so it’s fair to assume that his donations have bought influence."

The JC understands that complaints have been made to Labour about Mr Cooper's conduct and a formal complaint was also been sent to Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Hackney South Labour Party confirming Mr Cooper was previously on the executive there, but was subsequently not involved with local party.

The JC contacted the Labour press office for comment.

An article on the left-wing website The Canary, which was promoted by its editor Kerry Ann Mendoza, repeatedly stressed Sir Trevor’s alleged links to Israel.

In 2018, left-wing Labour National Policy Forum member George McManus was forced to retract his attack on Tom Watson, after the then deputy Labour leader accepted a donation from Sir Trevor.

Mr McManus wrote: “At least Judas only got 30 pieces of silver.”

Momentum founder Jon Lansman replied: "Do you not realise that Trevor Chinn is associated with the most progressive Jewish causes and charities like New Israel Fund and Yachad. Your assumptions about Jews’ political attitudes are I’m afraid antisemitic.”

In June last year, Mr Cooper wrote on social media in support of anti-Zionist academic Norman Finkelstein saying Labour antisemitism was a "conspiracy theory pushed by the British elite, with the help of leading Jewish communal bodies".

Mr Cooper was informed on social media that a quote he had circulated allegedly by Holocaust survivor Dr Hajo Meyer saying antisemitism had been twisted to include anyone "Jews dislike" had actually been made by the neo-Nazi Joseph Sobran.

He replied: "Whomever said it, it’s still true."

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