The Labour Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye, Michelle Harris, has been dropped from the local Labour Party’s shortlist of candidates following a furore on Twitter about her social media posts.
Ms Harris, who is a barrister at London-based law firm One Pump Court, is said to have shared a number of offensive posts including an illustration showing a small barbed wire enclave entitled “Palestine” surrounded by Israel with a caricature of Benjamin Netanyahu saying: “It looks like a modern version of the Warsaw Ghetto”. Disturbingly, Ms Harris commented alongside this: “I have often said the Holocaust victims who died with dignity must be turning in their graves at the horrors done in the name of Judaism. Gaza is a ghetto being shelled.”
Ms Harris is also alleged to have shared posts incorrectly claiming that the Israel Defence Force deliberately targets pregnant Palestinian women in order to kill their babies.
Under the International Definition of Antisemitism, “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” and “using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis” is antisemitic.
Mr Harris has also reportedly posted that she would be protesting against what she called “the antisemitic Witch hunt run by the media, Israel Lobby and Traitorous Blairites against Jeremy Corbyn, Ken Livingstone and the Labour left”.
Ms Harris has now deleted a number of tweets and Facebook posts, announcing on a Labour Party supporters’ Facebook page that she was no longer shortlisted to become Labour’s parliamentary candidate following what she described as a “smear campaign” and claiming that the allegations made against her are false and are an attempt to “silence Corbyn supporters”.
As a practising Barrister, Ms Harris is bound by her profession’s Code of Conduct and Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Regulatory Enforcement Unit is now filing a complaint.
At present, there is no record of any disciplinary action being taken against Ms Harris by the Labour Party, however, the circumstances and outcomes of any such action would remain unknown, owing to the conditions of secrecy imposed by the Chakrabarti report into antisemitism in the Labour Party.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is grateful for information provided by anonymous sources and by Labour Against Antisemitism.