Starmer must come clean about Israeli spy

PRESS RELEASE

JANUARY 16 2021

SUSPENDED LABOUR MEMBERS CHALLENGE STARMER TO COME CLEAN ABOUT EX ISRAELI SPY

Suspended and expelled members of the Labour Party are challenging leader Keir Starmer to come clean about the alleged hiring of a former Israeli “cyber spy” to work for the party.

The Labour in Exile Network (LIEN) Group has discovered that Assaf Kaplan who previously worked for Israeli intelligence, has been apparently trying to monitor its activities by means of social media.

Esther Giles of LIEN said: “Reports in the press that the Labour Party has hired this man to manage its social media are chilling. Now we find he has become one of our Facebook and Twitter followers. We can only conclude that the Labour Party has hired this man to spy on us.

“Is this what the Party should be spending its member’s subscriptions on? Is this what the Party of social justice and democracy should be doing — spying on its own members?”

The Electronic Intifada website has reported that Assaf Kaplan served in the cyber warfare Unit of Israeli intelligence, which, in 2014 was alleged to be using information on Palestinians for the purposes of extortion and blackmail.

Now, the website says, Kaplan is working in Keir Starmer’s office with the job title of “Social Listening and Organizing and Manager.”

Esther said: “It seems obvious why they’ve taken him on. We have a purge of the party going on at the moment, with at least 63 local party officers suspended for allowing their CLPs to discuss motions in support of Jeremy Corbyn and related matters. But this is only a small part of the problem.

“There are still thousands of Corbyn supporters left in the party, and we think that the new regime will be looking for evidence to get rid of as many of them as it can. Kaplan appears to have the experience and track record needed to do just that.”

Esther was suspended by the Labour Party in November 2020 after the passing of a motion in Bristol North West CLP where she was CLP secretary and branch chair, calling for the reinstatement of Jeremy Corbyn in the interests of party unity.

LIEN is challenging Keir Starmer to make a full statement about Kaplan.

Esther, who last year came second in the election for Labour Party treasurer, said: “We want Keir Starmer to confirm or otherwise that the Labour Party has hired this man. If so, we want to know from Keir Starmer what he knew about Assaf Kaplan’s background when the Party hired him, whether he was personally involved in hiring him and come clean about why he has been hired. Will Keir Starmer deny that Kaplan has been hired to spy on party members?”

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