Marlon Solomon
6 min readDec 2, 2021


The concept of a sacrificial lamb comes from the Torah. Every morning and evening, a lamb was sacrificed in the temple in Jerusalem for the sins of the people. As a metaphor in the arts, it is used to describe a peripheral character whose sole purpose is to die as a dramatic device for the lead characters. In politics the lamb is sometimes used to describe a candidate who is chosen to stand in an election which they have no hope in winning. In using it to describe the sacing of Long-bailey it is goes back to the original Abrahamic meaning. and today it can be used to described the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey from the Shadow Cabinet for sharing an article which contained a batshit conspiracy theory about Israel.

What happened.

The article in question was an interview with Maxine Peake published in the Independent. It contained all the hit points you would expect from a patron of the Morning Star, as Peake is. A rallying cry to demolish capitalism, a mark of shame cast on all who refused to vote Labour because of Corbyn, “Well I’m sorry they voted Tory” and, as sure as night follows day, a direct link was drawn between Israel and… the murder of George Floyd, “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.” This baseless conspiracy theory was then given credence by the journalist, “though Israeli police have denied this, a 2016 report from Amnesty International said that hundreds of law enforcement officers had travelled to Israel for training.” The Independent rapidly amended this when it was made clear that said report didn’t back up Peake’s claim. It wasn’t even a report, just a blog post. Sheesh.

Rebecca Long-Bailey`shared Peake’s interview along with a glowing reference, and by the end of play, she had been relieved of her position in the shadow cabinet and demoted to the backbenches by Keir Starmer.

The Corbyn left — with its representatives in the Socialist Campaign Group — have declared unconditional solidarity with Long-Bailey, Momentum have issued a rallying cry to its members to retake the National Executive Committee they recently lost control of, John McDonnell’s got his big petition out and here we are again: a vicious internal war in the Labour party with Jews in the eye of the storm. It was at this point I logged off Twitter.

Now, as much as Rebecca Long-Bailey’s supporters would like to treat this case in isolation, as much as they — with some justification — will point to worse transgressions by other MP’s which have received no sanction, it’s clear that Starmer has, with some risk, decided to lay down a marker. Labour will no longer be a home for people who promote dangerous conspiracy theories about Jews, Zionism or Israel, as has been the case for the last five years. So much so that it has flowed readily into mainstream British political life and negatively impacted a great many British Jews.

Perhaps, unlike many members of my own community, I feel some sympathy for Long-Bailey. The dissemination, or even composition, of ideas contained in Peake’s piece were an everyday occurrence under Corbyn. But Long-Bailey wasn’t noticeable amongst those who indulged. She also, to her credit, engaged constructively on the issue of antisemitism with the Jewish community in Salford and Manchester, where her constituency is based. Unfortunately for RLB, she appears to be carrying the can for all that has gone before her.

That sympathy is weighted along with the dread which greets many Jewish people when antisemitism in Labour becomes headline news, the backlash against the British Jewry is, for want of a bitter phrase, not very nice. But Starmer does need to draw a line in the sand. I just didn’t expect it to be such a massive fuck-off one.

As soon as RLB faced criticism for sharing the piece, social media lit up with discussion about whether Peake’s claim was true. If it wasn’t true, why is it antisemitic. If so, why? To answer these questions we need to look at the origin of the conspiracy theory and what’s its intended purpose is.

Three years ago, a report called Deadly Exchange was published by radical Jewish anti-Zionist group in America, Jewish Voice for Peace. It’s aim was to say that police brutality in America was being coordinated by Israel as US police are being trained there. In reality, executives from the US police recieve training from many countries. In Israel, the training was in counter-terrorism. Israel was a hot-spot for suicide bombers and many countries sought out their expertise in dealing with this threat when it came to their door. The Israeli who co-ordinated the exchange has stated “there is no field training involved in either the conferences or trips, and no training on holds or arrest mechanics. The exchanges, which are hosted by the Israel National Police, focus on effective counterterrorism techniques.”

After the horrific murder of George Floyd the ‘Deadly Exchange’ theory began to surface once again in the US, effectively blaming the murder on Israel. In the wake of this, to much surprise, JVP then issued a statement repudiating their own report.

“Suggesting that Israel is the start or source of American police violence or racism shifts the blame from the United States to Israel. This obscures the fundamental responsibility and nature of the U.S., and harms Black people and Black-led struggle. It also furthers an antisemitic ideology. White supremacists look for any opportunity to glorify and advance American anti-Black racism, and any chance to frame Jews as secretly controlling and manipulating the world.”

Well, they sort of got there in the end.

A well-meaning leftie who was perplexed by the accusation of antisemitism asked me a question earlier: “drawing attention to the global nature of systemic racism and used the documented training relationship between the American police and the Israeli police as an example” isn’t antisemitic? Well, it isn’t, of course not. However that isn’t the proposition put forward by Peake, it’s from a conspiracy theory - without factual basis - that baselessly blames world’s current malady on Israel.

“Ok she was wrong on the specifics, and used an awful example, but why is that antisemitic?

To some it may not sound like much but the extrapolation from ‘US Police went to Israel to a counter-terrorism conference’ to “US Police learned the techniques with which they used to kill George Floyd from ‘Israeli Secret Service Seiminars' is a sinister if not in intention then in effect.

Whenever there's a terrorist attack, a war or social unrest antisemites will naturally be looking for ways, however tendentious, to link it to Jews, whether that be Israel, Zionists or Zionism it’s all the same to them. Unfortunately these ideas sometimes get traction. When it's not based in hard fact and becomes conspiracy theory, it mimics classic antisemitic conspiracy theories where Jews would find themselves in the frame for whatever plague was going on. In this case: the trigger for the biggest uprising of black America for a generation is really the work of a group of Jews 6000 miles away. In this way these theories become indistinguishable from antisemitic conspiracy theories with the same net result: hatred of Jews.

The Deadly Exchange conspiracy theory’s natural end point is to make American police brutality Israel’s fault. On both extremes of the political spectrum this is gravy. In parts of the radical left its de riguer to blame Israel for, well, pretty much everything. The theory that Peake posited first appeared in the UK in The Morning Star, (probably no coincidence that Peake is a patron). The effect is to stoke division between Jewish and Black people. On the far-right, the idea that Jews are behind US race wars is a staple of white supremacist ideology, as is the desire to protect the real culprits, racist American coppers. In both cases, the tragic consequence is not just an uptick in antisemitic rhetoric, and a distraction the Black Lives Matter but these theories do have consequences, sometimes deadly ones.

So did Long-Bailey deserve to be sacked for sharing an article than contained one of these theories? Probably yes.

Long-Bailey is in a party which is being investigating by the EHRC for unlawfully discriminating against Jewish people. Over the last four years, Jewish people have spent time, when not gnashing their teeth, painfully explaining to her and everyone else who’d listen, what these tropes look like. The proliferation of these anti-Jewish conspiracy theories has seen Jewish people leave the party and reverberate way beyond the confines of the party. Furthermore, Long-Bailey represents Corbynism, a movement which had mired itself in these tropes, if not repeating them, then failing to recognise them, then, due to factionalism, defending or ignoring them. If Starmer is going to do what he claimed — to “cut antisemitism out by it’s root” — then the head of Long-Bailey for this transgression sends a very clear message.



Marlon Solomon

Actor, drummer and very occasional blogger. Usually chuntering on about antisemitism.