Luke Akehurst: cutout for Israel
The Labour right-winger was exposed by Al Jazeera recently, but what is his history as a professional Israel lobbyist?
Last week I was invited on Crispin Blunt’s excellent live internet discussion programme, Not the Andrew Marr Show.
We had a very interesting discussion with Becky Massey and Greg Hadfield (left-wingers from Brighton: Becky is a Palestine solidarity activist and Greg is a veteran journalist) as well as Steve Walker of Skwawkbox fame.
Our topic was Labour right-winger and NEC member Luke Akehurst and what was revealed about him in Al Jazeera’s recent investigative series The Labour Files. Leaked Labour files obtained by the channel show that Akehurst wrote the original draft of a letter by a right-wing-Labour activist — Luke Stanger — defending him from expulsion by party officials. In a now deleted tweet (see below) Akehurst later admitted to helping Stanger.
Soon after this episode aired, Stanger complained he had been fired from his customer service job at Gatwick airport “as a result of the [Al Jazeera] ‘The Labour Files’ programme.” But he remains very much in the party.
The series detailed his abusive behaviour, harassment and even alleged stalking of left-wing Labour activists in Brighton — all with the support of senior members of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet.
You can watch our discussion in the video above.
In it, I explained the context of Akehurst’s work as a professional lobbyist for Israel inside the Labour Party. I said that he and Stanger were effectively cutouts or agents for the state of Israel (possibly unwittingly in Stanger’s case).
The article by myself I mentioned is here and the photo is above. The article by my colleague David Cronin which I mentioned is here . But also check out EI’s entire decade and more of reporting on Akehurst’s long and sordid record of support for an apartheid state and the arms industry.
Becky called for Akehurst to resign from Labour’s NEC and “get on with your day job of believing in Israel.” Akehurst’s Israel lobby group is titled “We Believe in Israel,” so this did give me a laugh.
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