By James Marlow
Labour party member and anti-Israel activist, Gary Spedding, tweeted on Monday that he had “Just been detained upon arrival at Ben Gurion airport by officials from the border agency. After 3 hours of interrogation they have decided to refuse my entry. This comes after abiding by a 5 year long ban from Israel and following all correct procedures.”
Spedding supports “Palestinian human rights, liberation and justice,” but also claims to fight anti-Semitism. In fact in 2018, he put himself forward as an “expert” in anti-Semitism boasting that he was included in talks with Jeremy Corbyn and Jewish community representatives.
But according to the jewknowblog.wordpress.com, Gary Spedding claimed to be Jewish, then Palestinian with a “Palestine” passport and then a Christian. In fact the blog has copied dozens of his tweets dating back to 2017 where Spedding openly is “opposed to Israel” and is “anti-Israel” with the usual “racism” promotion.
The blog asks what kind of antisemitism expert is banned from the only Jewish state in the world.
Spedding was first banned from entering Israel in 2014 for “fear of public disturbance.” He was banned for five years by the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority.
On Monday, Spedding claimed his visit was “entirely legitimate and planned,” with invitations from civil society organizations and plans to meet members of Knesset. He added that he wrote to Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev at the Israeli Embassy in London just before his trip and stressed he was not a member of the BDS movement.
Israel passed a law in 2018 banning anti-Israel boycotters from entering the country. “Whoever continues letting [boycott activists] into Israel exposes Israeli citizens to harm,” said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
Since the new law, there have been a number of activists barred from the country because of their connections to organizations that are on the Strategic Affairs Ministry’s blacklist. In addition, many activists were stopped and questioned for what they felt were unfairly long amounts of time, including journalist Peter Beinart, who called to boycott settlements. Simone Zimmerman, a leader of IfNotNow, which calls for US Jewish organizations to take Israel to task for its continued presence in the West Bank, was also detained for questioning.
Spedding said he will be appeal the decision to deport him but deemed it best to fly back to UK and not further antagonise the interior ministry. He also tweeted he rejected the refused entry order