Labour is institutionally antisemitic and the EHRC report proves it – Conservative Article
For years the discussion of the Labour party and antisemitism has been prevalent. This question was at the forefront of the 2019 general election, with even the Chief Rabbi urging people to listen to the voices of the Jewish community. The antisemitism amongst the Labour party is often disregarded and considered a political tactic by the Tories to taint the opposing party.
In October 2020, an EHRC report, formed by legal professionals, was released. The report legally proves the evident and more covert issues of antisemitism amongst the party, investigating a sample of 70 complaints.
These are issues that have been raised for years by the Jewish community. The investigation found that Labour had in fact “breached the Equality Act 2010 by committing unlawful harassment”. It was also discovered that they had “breached the Equality Act 2010 by acts of indirect discrimination relating to political interference and a lack of adequate training.”
In order to tackle any kind of harassment or discrimination, parties have a complaints process. The complaints process is an absolute necessity for members to feel safe amongst their peers; it allows for the party to directly address any form of hate.
The EHRC report, however, found that the Labour complaints process was “inconsistent, poor and lacking in transparency.” There was a “failure to publish a clear policy on how antisemitic conduct is sanctioned, the failure to provide adequate reasons for decisions, and poor record-keeping”. As a result, antisemitism has not been tackled with a zero-tolerance approach. Members who have been victims of such hate have not had the means to come forward with any confidence that these incidents will be dealt with correctly.
The spreading of antisemitism through social media was an overwhelming contributor to the complaint sample. “Of the 70 complaints, 59 involved conduct on social media.” You would think that the Labour party would find a way to tackle this kind of discrimination, seeing as social media is so prevalent in our society. They have not.
Labour’s previous social media policy has allowed for the excessive promotion of antisemitic content, with no repercussions. The policy allowed for Labour to not investigate complaints about “members’ social media activity if they liked or shared content without commenting on it.” This policy was applied from June 2017 to mid-2018.
This policy is outrageous. It enables the sharing of blatant antisemitism with absolutely no consequences.
In 2016, a member was suspended for sharing a range of antisemitic tweets. However, due to the change in social media policy, the suspension was lifted. The shared tweets were centred on “Holocaust denial and antisemitic conspiracy theories”. This individual remained a member of the Labour party for a further two years until they chose to resign. There is no doubt that the promotion of Holocaust denial is antisemitic. The suspension should never have been lifted.
Labour has since developed a new social media policy. This is set out in an NEC statement available on the party’s website: ‘Code of Conduct: Social Media Policy‘.
The EHRC report, however, found that ‘this statement does not refer to antisemitism, although it does refer to ‘race’ and ‘religion’.” If Labour wants to show their commitment to the Jewish community, they must be clear and concise in having a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism, if they have any at all.
It is shocking to see how the Labour party have politically interfered with the complaints process, particularly in the case of Jeremy Corbyn. In 2018, a complaint was made about Jeremy Corbyn’s support for an antisemitic mural.
The mural perpetuated a range of antisemitic conspiracies and symbols. The image was of bearded men with large hooked noses, sitting around a table which rests on human bodies, whilst they count money.
This image is eerily similar to that of the propaganda that Hitler put out in Nazi Germany. The fact that Jeremy Corbyn’s support of the mural was so prevalent amongst the public eye and that he was still able to run for Prime Minister is disgusting. The EHRC report found that when a complaint was made about this scenario, the “LOTO staff directly interfered in the decision not to investigate” this complaint. There were a further 22 instances of political interference like this amongst the sample of complaints.
It is imperative that I address the 18 borderline harassment cases where the EHRC were not able to fully determine whether the party was legally responsible due to a lack of evidence. After requesting further information on social media posts, Labour was not able to give them that information.
When introducing the report, the EHRC state that they were “seriously concerned about the Party’s commitment to working with [them] and to dedicating enough resources to the matter.” Their lack of cooperation with this investigation suggests that even this harrowing report may just be the tip of the iceberg to even more issues of antisemitism.
For far too long antisemitism in the Labour party has simply been brushed off. The complaints of the Jewish community have been labelled as smears; as merely a tool to propagate capitalist ideology, furthering the right-wing agenda. The line between Israel and antisemitism is continually blurred and used as a tool to further antisemitic behaviour.
The discussion of antisemitism runs so much deeper than Labour’s relationship with Israel. I can only hope that the EHRC report will be seen as enough evidence of that fact that the Labour party is institutionally antisemitic.
Will people start listening to the voices of the Jewish community now?
Written by Junior Conservative Writer, Rebecca Selt
Point of Information
Labour is finally stamping out antisemitic practices, will the Conservatives do the same? – A Liberal Response
I completely agree with Rebecca’s outrage and to some extent her conclusions from the EHRC report; it’s damning. The sheer hypocrisy of Labour’s “For the many, not the few” is upsetting as this report lays bare that ‘the many’ did not include the Jewish people. The evidence is staggering in its breadth and its prevalence throughout the whole party shows it is a systemic issue.
Keir Starmer’s actions in removing Corbyn after the ex-Labour MP said: “one anti-Semite is one too many” [in the party] then following up with “The scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media” is a move in the right direction for the party. It finally demonstrates the zero-tolerance approach Labour pride themselves on.
However, Jewish people should not be naive enough to believe that their political home should be within the Conservative party. After all, antisemitism finds a natural home in the right.
The Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, defended his actions of retweeting a speech from the German far-right group Alternative for Germany (AfD) who often march and support Neo-Nazi Groups. There is an endless list of Conservatives tolerating antisemitism within its party. Therefore, I find it sickening that the Conservatives have used Labour’s antisemitism as a way to wash their hands of any wrongdoing. They themselves have some serious issues they need to address before it inevitably catches up with them, as it did with the Labour party.
Corbyn’s words have upset me. They’ve made me angry and I feel validated that the EHRC report confirmed that my community and I were not living up to the stereotype of Jewish neurosis.
Finger-pointing who’s more antisemitic does nothing more than highlight the widespread antisemitism issue in our Government. Starmer’s steps into stamping it out in his own Party gives me hope that we might finally see the back of it.
The question now is: when will the Conservatives catch up?
Written by Guest Liberal Writer, Lucy Severn
There should be no political agenda when it comes to antisemitism – A Labour Response
Rebecca has yet again addressed an extremely important issue with great sensitivity. She has expertly highlighted the key problems within the Labour party and, more importantly, what needs to change.
I think a lot of people will be interested in reading the Labour response to this article. How critical will it be of our respective party? Well, I can assure you that here you will find no political agenda, only a moral, human one. And there will be no attempt to shift the blame elsewhere. Why? Partly because the Liberal response has already covered this, but mainly because this is a separate issue, despite the obvious existence of atrocious discrimination and racism in other UK parties.
Antisemitism is “disgusting”. Rebecca certainly uses the right word here. And it is a serious problem in the Labour party. So what can we do about it?
We can no longer ignore antisemitism, nor should we ever have. The Labour party needs to start showing willingness and commitment to moving away from antisemitism completely. The voices of the Jewish community deserve to be heard and Labour needs to start listening.
Rebecca does well to highlight the role social media has had in contributing to antisemitism within the party. There have been so many inconsistencies with Labour’s use of social media; on the one hand, they are constantly looking to use it to expand their support base and to engage voters. But on the other hand, it has been increasingly used to spread hate and promote antisemitic content; subsequently neglecting a crucial part of the UK electorate. Labour needs a new social media policy that neglects no one.
Speaking of social media, just yesterday (Sunday 8 October) ‘#ReinstateJeremyCorbyn’ was trending on Twitter. You only have to read some of the tweets with this tag to realise that both the party and country are divided on Corbyn. But regardless of where you stand on one individual, it is imperative that we are all united against antisemitism having a place in the Labour party. This goes way beyond Jeremy Corbyn.
Diane Abbot is one Labour MP who is continuously and openly supportive of Jeremy Corbyn. Following his suspension from the party, she tweeted “Divided parties don’t win elections”. While this is true, antisemitism cannot be justified for the benefit of party unification. A party unified by antisemitism has no place in UK politics.
The EHRC report needs to be taken seriously. If that means suspending a select few members, or a complete overhaul of policy, so be it. Furthering a political agenda at the cost of the Jewish community is not acceptable.
Written by Co-Chief Labour Writer, Abi Clargo
I am a third year student studying English and Film Studies at the University of Exeter. After completing my degree, I will be converting to law to begin my journey of becoming a commercial lawyer. As an avid reader of the Financial Times, I have begun to understand how important the commercial market is in forming global politics.
I’m Abi! I am a liberal, political enthusiast from the Welsh valleys. Since I was young, I have been captivated by politics. I used to spend so much time watching the morning news before school, and have paid close attention to political campaigns for as long as I can remember. It was a lot later that I decided I wanted to pursue politics academically. Now, I have just finished my second year studying Politics and International Relations at the University of Exeter.