Northern Independence Party leader's Israel posts revealed

Philip Proudfoot - whose party are fielding a candidate in the forthcoming Hartlepool by-election - wrote of his ability to discover if colleagues were 'actual Zionist'


The leader of a new political party attracting support from left-wing critics of Sir Keir Starmer after announcing it was fielding a candidate in the forthcoming Hartlepool by-election has previously commented about “resistance to Israel” and of his ability to determine whether “any given colleague is an actual Zionist.”

Philip Proudfoot founded the Northern Independence Party (NIP) last October – but in recent weeks the party has attracted significant new interest over its involvement in the Hartlepool by-election, with Thelma Walker, a former West Yorkshire Labour MP, announcing her decision to contest the seat on 6 May.

Positive media coverage for the NIP has emerged from former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s key backers in recent days – including from Guardian journalist Owen Jones, activist and writer Ash Sarkar and Novara Media’s Aaron Bastani.

But the JC has been alerted to a series of social media messages posted on Twitter by Mr Proudfoot, which appear to have been deleted.

In one post he suggested Sir Keir was controlled by “dark money backers” while in another he defended the suspended Labour left-winger Pete Willsman over his “Jewish Trump fanatics” remarks.

Mr Proudfoot - an international development studies lecturer at University of Sussex – wrote in October 2019 that as a “Middle East Anthropologist I’ve developed rapid googling skills to quickly discover whether any given colleague fails to adhere to BDS/is an actual Zionist.”

That same month, apparently in discussion of Labour’s policy on Israel, he wrote that “by removing resistance to Israel, which is such a huge defining part of the picture, you’re definitely also saying something. It’s not an unpopular opinion, it’s an idiotic one.”

Last April, ahead of Labour’s announcement that Sir Keir had been elected leader, Mr Proudfoot predicted, “he will do everything in his power to block and reverse party democracy. His dark money backers want to prevent another Jeremy Corbyn from ever happening again. We must be vigilant comrades.”

Meanwhile, writing in July 2018, after the JC revealed a recording of Mr Willsman addressing a Labour NEC meeting and attacking “Jewish Trump fanatics”, Mr Proudfoot wrote: “I’m really trying to understand how accusing Jewish critics of the Labour Party of being “Trump fanatics” is antisemitic.

“It’s definitely a sloppy generalisation  - some might be fanatics, others might not be – but is accusing people of supporting Trump a racist offence now?”

The JC has approached the NIP for comment over Mr Proudfoot's tweets.

Dr Paul Williams has been selected as Labour's candidate to replace Mike Hill, who has resigned pending an ongoing parliamentary investigation over an allegation of sexual harassment which he has strongly denied.

Former farmer, Jill Mortimer will represent the Conservatives The election is on 6 May.

Ash Sarkar, the journalist and left-wing activist recently wrote enthusiastically about NIP saying: “Standing Thelma Walker in Hartlepool is important. She is firmly of the left, disillusioned with Labour under Starmer, a serious organiser with a digital presence.

“I might be an obnoxious Londoner, but I think the Northern Independence Party presents some real challenges for Labour.”

Mr Bastani said: “The north-south divide is one of the biggest issues impacting British politics and society from an economic model focused on the City to poor public transport outside the south-east. 

“Instead of asking ‘why is there a party focused on this?’ Ask why it took so long.”

Left-wing political commentator Mr Jones wrote: “An intriguing moment in UK political history as the Northern Independence Party fields its first candidate, former Labour MP Thelma Walker.”


Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive