A Jewish hard left group has apologised for helping to organise a UK tour for a disgraced activist who claims Israel exaggerates the Holocaust “for political ends”.
Na’amod, which says it has more than 250 members, campaigns against Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria and regularly mounts protests at events attended by Israeli officials in the UK.
The JC understands that someone with access to the group’s email address offered expelled GMB union shop steward Pete Gregson advice – then tried to conceal the exchange after the controversy came to light.
On 7 July 2022, Gregson emailed Na’amod asking for help finding “non-Christian” venues across Britain for a tour featuring senior Neturi Karta Rabbi Dovid Weiss and British-Jordanian academic Dr Azzam Tamimi.
Rabbi Weiss led a delegation to a Holocaust denial conference in Tehran in 2006.
Dr Tamimi has previously said he “longs to be a martyr” and asked “what is so terrorist about [Hamas]?”
In his email to the Jewish campaign group, Gregson asked: "Would Naamod be able to help in any way? We would like to visit every UK city where there is a sizeable Muslim population, plus four more (Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool).
“We aim to get 100+ to every event; this is ambitions, I know… We would also like to reach out to Jews. [sic]”
On his website, Gregson says the tour will examine the roots of the conflict in Palestine, and “the need for Hamas to be decriminalised”.
Everyone is welcome to attend, he adds, from pro-Palestinians to supporters of Israel. It will reportedly cost £7,000 to run.
The anti-Israel campaigner clearly identified himself, signing the email "Pete Gregson (Chair) Campaign Against Bogus Antisemitism.”
Na’amod replied: "Hi Pete, That all sounds really good. We actually have a master doc for venues that we use when organising events, i've attached it to this email. Is there anything else I can help with?”
The email was signed with the name of a Na’amod member and the words “in solidarity”.
In a statement, a Na’amod spokesperson said: “We have now completed a thorough investigation into the email sent from the Na’amod account to Pete Gregson, and have concluded that the email was sent by a member of our team, who is no longer in their position.
“We offer our unreserved and sincere apologies that this happened. That email should never have been sent and was not approved.
“We unequivocally reject and condemn Pete Gregson’s antisemitic views, and want nothing to do with him.”
Gregson, who was shop steward for NHS Lothian, was expelled by the GMB union in 2019 after claiming Israel was “a racist endeavour” that “exaggerates” the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews “for political ends”.
He has also claimed that Zionists are not Jews and attended an infamous conspiracy theory discussion group alongside hardened Shoah deniers.
Gregson told the JC he is not a Holocaust denier.
The emails revealing that the anti-occupation group assisted Gregson were obtained by antisemitism researcher David Collier, and shared exclusively in full with the JC.
Mr Collier convinced Gregson to send him the documents by posing for months as a supporter of his campaign.
After Mr Collier claimed on Twitter that Na’amod had sent Gregson a list of venues, the group initially denied helping the anti-Zionist campaigner.
In a statement published online on 23 August, Na’amod said: "Na’amod has never supported this individual in this or any other capacity.
“Targeting of Na'amod is consistent with far-right, pro-occupation groups and individuals who attempt to undermine those striving for the human rights of Palestinians under occupation."
And on 8 September, Na’amod released a further statement, declaring they were launching a full internal investigation into the incident.
The group said: “Our initial investigation uncovered no evidence of assistance, and we have been unable to locate any email to suggest that we have supported him on his tour.”
A previous version of this story incorrectly repeated claims made by Haaretz that Rabbi Dovid Weiss claimed the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust had been exaggerated by Israel. Rabbi Weiss denies making any such statement.