The British Labour party has suspended a prominent Jewish donor, after he allegedly used the term “Nazi stormtroopers” to describe supporters of Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn.
British media reported Sunday that Labour has subsequently launched an investigation into allegations of abuse by the donor, Michael Foster, in accordance with election rules which prohibit “abuse of any kind by members or supporters”.
The comments in question were made in an article Foster wrote for the Daily Mail on Sunday, entitled “Why I despise Jeremy Corbyn and his Nazi stormtroopers.”
Foster, who has reportedly donated over £400,000 to the party over the past two-and-a-half years, denied using the word “Nazi” himself, saying it was added to the headline by Daily Mail editors.
However, the German term he used for stormtrooper, Sturmabteilung, is widely recognized to refer to the Nazi Brown Shirts.
According to the BBC, Foster clarified that his remarks referred specifically to Corbyn’s “leadership cadre”, and that the terms “Pretorian Guard or Revolutionary Guard or Red Guard,” would be just as appropriate to describe “a group there to secure the leader and his political plans”.
The August 14 op-ed came after Britain’s High Court ruled against a petition filed by Foster, a former MP candidate, arguing that the party’s incumbent leader should not be automatically regarded as a candidate on new ballots.
“This decision advantaged Corbyn and his Sturm Abteilung (stormtroopers), but on Friday afternoon the Appeal Court handed down a big decision for British democracy,” Foster wrote.
Foster also accused Corbyn and his leadership team of lacking a moral compass, and having “no respect for others and worse, no respect for the rule of law.”
He also wrote, “If you are like me, a Jewish donor to Labour, you are smeared as a Blairite conspirator, plotting to falsely use the accusation of anti-Semitism to damage the Left…. Corbyn and his leadership team have no respect for others and worse, no respect for the rule of law.”
Fosters’ suspension means that he will be excluded from Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool and will be barred from voting in the party’s leadership election between Corbyn and Owen Smith.
The Daily Mail cited the outraged donor as predicting that his suspension marked the beginning of a “purge” of Corbyn opponents.
The Labor leader is expected to win the contest handily, in results which will be announced next week. “The rule of law is being ignored because of intimidation by Corbyn, backed by Momentum, his Praetorian Guard. This will presage the purge of opponents within the Labour Party and then the deselection of any MP who is not signed up to the Left’s ideology,” the Mail quoted Foster as saying.
Foster’s remarks came as news almost simultaneously emerged that the Israeli Labor party was disappointed by Corbyn’s declination of an invitation to visit Yad Vashem.
Israeli Labor leader Isaac Herzog had asked his British counterpart to accompany him to the Holocaust Remembrance Center to “witness the last time Jews were forcibly transported – to their deaths.”
Corbyn responded that prior commitments forced him to decline, but that Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson or its general secretary, Iain McNicol would go in his place.
Corbyn and his party suffered from an anti-Semitism crisis this year, resulting in several high-profile suspensions and culminating in the Chakrabarti Report on anti-Semitism within the party.