Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Linton apologises for ' Israel's tentacles' speech

    One of the Labour Party’s most prominent pro-Palestinian
    campaigners has apologised for comments he made in Parliament last month
    warning voters of the “long tentacles of Israel” seeking to influence the
    forthcoming UK election.

    Martin Linton, Labour MP for Battersea, founded Labour
    Friends of Palestine and serves as its chair. He said he was sorry for any
    offence caused, but was not aware of the anti-Semitic precedents of the image
    of a Jewish octopus.

    As the JC reported this week, Mr Linton, speaking in the
    House of Commons on March 23 at a meeting held by Friends of Al-Aqsa to discuss
    Israeli house demolitions,  said: “There are long tentacles of Israel in this
    country who are funding election campaigns and putting money into the British
    political system for their own ends.”

    He added: “You must consider over the next few weeks, when
    you make decisions about how you vote and how you advise constituents to vote,
    you must make them aware of the attempt by Israelis and by pro-Israelis to
    influence the election.”

    Danny Stone, director of the all-Party Parliamentary Group
    Against Anti-Semitism said: “It is shameful to see Maembers of Parliament using
    classic conspiracy theory language. Both the Labour Party and the Conservative
    Party have previously indicated to us their intentions to crack down on any and
    all racist language or behaviour  -- I hope we will see swift action
    taken.”

    The Labour Party has yet to say what measures, if any, will
    be taken to discipline Mr Linton, but a spokesman distanced the party from the
    remarks: “These alleged comments are not the view of the Labour Party,” he
    said.

    The image of Jewish financial tentacles has a long and
    shameful history. One cover of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion portrayed
    octopus tentacles interwoven with the Star of David. A notorious cartoon of an
    octopus straddling the globe was also used in the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer in
    the 1930s. It can also be used in British anti-Semitic portrayals of the
    Rothschild banking family in the 19th century.

    When the comments first came to light in the blog of Jewish
    freelance journalist Richard Millett and in the Jewish Chronicle, Mr Linton
    initially said he did not recognise the “tentacles” remarks as his own.

    He now says he was unaware of the possible anti-Semitic
    associations of his “tentacles” comments. But he said stood by his warnings
    about the influence of the pro-Israel lobby on British politics.

    In a statement to the JC Mr Linton said: “I’m sorry if a
    word I used caused unintended offence because of connotations of which I was
    unaware, but completely understand and sympathise with. On the substantial
    issue I was echoing the findings of a recent Channel 4 programme on political
    donations and lobbying, which has recently been cleared of bias by the
    broadcasting regulator Ofcom. 

    “I set up Labour Friends of Palestine after visiting the
    West Bank and seeing that there is a highly effective lobby for Israel but no
    equivalent lobby for Palestinians in the Labour Party.  I hope one day
    Channel 4 will have cause to do a programme on the effectiveness of our lobby.

    “I hope the JC will now get back to discussing the issue of
    the meeting on March 23rd which was the eviction of Palestinian communities
    from what is and always has been and always should be the shared capital city of
    Israelis and
    Palestinians.

Special Reports

Dublin benefits from overseas aid

Barry Toberman

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dublin benefits from overseas aid
Uk News

Luciana Berger troll driven by 'fierce antisemitism'

JC Reporter

Monday, December 5, 2016

Luciana Berger troll driven by 'fierce antisemitism'
Uk News

UJS presidential candidate abused for pro-BDS s...

Daniel Sugarman

Thursday, December 1, 2016

UJS presidential candidate abused for pro-BDS s...
Uk News

Limmud: Food for thought at session on 'ethical eating'

By Simon Rocker

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Limmud: Food for thought at session on 'ethical eating'
Uk News

Local MP blocks visit from David Irving's 'secret tour'

Rosa Doherty

Friday, December 2, 2016

Local MP blocks visit from David Irving's 'secret tour'
Uk News

CST urges Rudd to ban neo-Nazi group

Lee Harpin

Thursday, December 1, 2016

CST urges Rudd to ban neo-Nazi group
Uk News

Commission criticised over inquiry into 'antisemitic' charity

Daniel Sugarman

Monday, December 5, 2016

Commission criticised over inquiry into 'antisemitic' charity
Uk News

Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs dies aged 86

JC Reporter

Friday, December 2, 2016

Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs dies aged 86
Uk News

Genetic testing charity plans screening rise

Rosa Doherty

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Genetic testing charity plans screening rise