A SCOTTISH GMB shop steward and Labour activist is set to be expelled from his trade union after being found guilty of anti-Semitism.

Pete Gregson of Edinburgh called the Israeli government racist and said it exaggerates the Holocaust for political purposes.

In a letter to Gregson, the GMB said it believed his comments were anti-Semitic and racist in nature and that claiming Israel exaggerated the Holocaust was “simply unacceptable”. The union’s Scottish committee, which heard the case, is recommending that he be permanently excluded from the GMB.

The former union official for NHS Lothian is now set to appeal on freedom of speech grounds against the GMB over their adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Allliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. Gregson argues the terminology is preventing people from criticising the Israeli regime.

The GMB has joined other unions and public institutions, such as local authorities and colleges, in accepting the definition. The IHRA says anti-Semitism can include “accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust” and “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”.

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Gregson has long advocated the cause of the Palestinian people and backs the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement.

He told the National: “The GMB are expelling me for anti-Semitism. According to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism I am a Jew hater.

The National:

Pete Gregson has taken issue with the IHRA anti-Semitism definition

“What I actually said was that Israel was a racist endeavour. I also said that Israel tends to exaggerate the importance of the Holocaust for its own political ends.

“For the record, I am a Holocaust educator. I have studied it at length, I want everyone to know about it and I studied it in Berlin just last summer.

“However, Israel has a tendency as a nation state to ignore the other factors involved in the persecution of Jews. And the irony is that Israel now persecutes the minorities, especially the Arabs, living within its borders – especially in Gaza. And so the racism that Jews suffered during the war is now practised by many Israeli Jews themselves.

“The state backs this – there are 60 laws saying Jews have greater rights and in July that approach was incorporated into Israel’s basic law with the Nation State law. But it’s wrong to transplant one Holocaust for another.

“The Israelis have been working since 2004 to redefine anti-Semitism so that they can stop the BDS movement. They know their apartheid system is at risk.

“So now anyone who calls it out as such in the UK is an anti-Semite and will be expelled from whatever body they are in or are employed by for telling the truth about Israel, because most bodies in the UK have adopted the IHRA. Netanyahu appears to have re-written the GMB rulebook.”

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