Jewish woman accused of anti-Semitism by Labor threatens to sue | Labor
An 82-year-old Jewish woman, who is the subject of a Labor Party investigation for suspected anti-Semitism for the third time in less than three years, threatens legal action against the party, claiming it illegally discriminated against her by because of his belief in anti-Zionism.
Diana Neslen, who lives in east London, regularly attends her local synagogue and keeps a kosher home, but has been accused of anti-Semitism for tweets she posted about Israel and Zionism.
In a pre-action letter to Labor, its lawyers, Bindmans, say the party’s investigation is totally unwarranted and disproportionate because it is based on a single tweet from 2017, which said “the existence of the State of Israel is a racist company and I am an anti-racist Jew â.
They claim that anti-Zionism is a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act and Neslen has been “subjected by the party to discrimination and harassment related to his protected philosophical belief.”
Neslen, who said she was a “committed Zionist” before her visit to Israel, told the Guardian: “I remember thinking at the end of the war, ‘Why didn’t the Germans do anything? ‘ When an injustice is done on your behalf, you cannot turn a blind eye to it. This is why I feel very strong.
âThe Labor Party has no idea, in my opinion, what anti-Semitism is. My son was attacked by a senior BNP [British National party] who was imprisoned for three years. I remember picking up the phone and receiving death threats from the BNP. People who have never experienced anti-Semitism have no idea what it means, what it means for a Jew to be convicted of anti-Semitism.
Neslen, who grew up in South Africa, said she has spent her life fighting apartheid and racism. In 2018, as she mourned the death of her 51-year-old husband and was recently diagnosed with cancer, she received a “driving reminder” accusing her of anti-Semitic comments on social media.
In February of this year, she received an “official warning from the NEC regarding your conduct”. Bindmans said all of them, except for one of the tweets cited in the latest investigation, of which she was informed in August, were excluded under party rules, either because they were before she did not join the party in 2015, either because they were taken into account in the previous survey.
In 2018, Labor, plagued by allegations of anti-Semitism, adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, which includes as an example: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, for example by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist enterprise.”
Neslen is a member of the Jewish Voice for Labor, which says he knows 42 Jewish Labor members, two of whom have since died, who have been or are facing disciplinary proceedings over allegations of anti-Semitism. The group estimates that more than five times as many Jewish and non-Jewish Labor members have been the subject of complaints of anti-Semitism.
Bindmans’ letter quotes the judge who, in Maya Forstater’s case earlier this year, determined that sexist views were a protected philosophical belief, stating “only if the belief involves a very serious violation of the rights of others, equivalent to to the destruction of these rights, would it be one that would not be worthy of respect in a democratic society â.
Neslen threatens to sue Labor if he does not apologize and vows not to pursue investigations against him regarding his beliefs.
Labor did not respond to letters from its lawyers and did not respond to a request for comment from the Guardian.