Union member expelled for saying Shoah ‘exaggerated’ loses appeal

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Union member expelled for saying Shoah ‘exaggerated’ loses appeal

Pete Gregson, who was backed by Neturei Karta, argued that claiming Israel is a racist endeavour should not be seen as antisemitic.

Peter Gregson with Neturei Karta Rabbi Ahron Cohen,
Peter Gregson with Neturei Karta Rabbi Ahron Cohen,

A Scottish activist sacked from his union for claiming the Holocaust was  exaggerated has lost his appeal.

Pete Gregson, who was shop steward for NHS Lothian, was expelled by the GMB after he claimed Israel was a “racist endeavour” that “exaggerates” the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews “for political ends”.

The Edinburgh resident claimed blog posts attacking “Israeli apartheid” and activities including signing a petition stating “Israel is a racist endeavour” were not antisemitic, and accused Benjamin Netanyahu of having “re-written the GMB rule book”.

According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, calling Israel a ‘racist endeavour’ and making comparisons between Israel and the Nazis is antisemitic. He was expelled by GMB on 31 December.

Gregson took legal advice and fought the verdict in court – adding that he had the backing of anti-Zionist Neturei Karta Rabbi Ahron Cohen, who was pictured with Gregson outside the hearing.

He said after his failed appeal, which he claimed was initiated by Jewish Labour candidate Rhea Wolfson, that he is “the first trade unionist to be expelled as an antisemite under the IHRA definition.”

Gregson, who is also suspended by Labour pending an investigation, said his appeal to the Union’s Central Executive Council failed, which was confirmed by the president of the GMB, Barbara Plant, in a letter to him.

He claims that “because the GMB adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism on 4 Sept, promoting “antisemitic views and material” now means criticising Israel. Until that date, antisemitism was defined as per the OED as “Hostility or prejudice against Jews”.

The orthodox rabbi who attended my London hearing told Ms Plant and the rest of the Council, that nothing I had said or done was antisemitic”

Gregson previously accused Wolfson, who is herself a GMB Organiser, of being “a self-declared Zionist high in the Jewish Labour Movement”.

He released a statement on a Change petition, which urges the Labour Party to abandon the international definition of antisemitism to allow members to call Israel a racist endeavour. It has 1,500 signatories.

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