Former UK Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey was sacked from the shadow cabinet amid accusations of anti-Semitism after she shared an interview with actress Maxine Peake.
British actress Peake, a long-time advocate of Palestinian rights, spoke on the issue of the Black Lives Matter movement and mentioned the fact that Israeli forces regularly teach and train US police in violent tactics during an interview with UK newspaper the Independent.
Peake was criticised when she claimed that Israeli forces taught the US police the technique of crushing the neck with the knee; the brutal tactic used by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin against George Floyd. Floyd died moments later.
In the interview, the actress said: “Systemic racism is a global issue. The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”
This technique is well known to the Palestinians as being used by Israeli forces, however, a spokesperson for the Israeli police denied the claim.
Some tried to say that Peake was attempting to pin the centuries-long systemic racism deeply rooted in the US police force onto Israel and blame it for Floyd’s death.
Long-Bailey shared the wide-ranging interview with Peake, in which she spoke about her latest onscreen project Fanny Lye Deliver’d, her socialist beliefs and the 2019 UK general election result, with the caption “Maxine Peake is an absolute diamond”.
This led to a Twitter frenzy accusing Peake of being anti-Semitic and Long-Bailey of supporting the alleged “anti-Semitism”.
Labour leader Keir Starmer’s office reportedly approved a statement from Long-Bailey on the issue then sacked her for sharing the article.
A report by Amnesty in 2016 revealed that US police forces across the country had been flown to Israel in order to learn about Israeli police tactics.