The Commons’ Home Affairs Committee (CHAC) report on anti-Semitism appears to be exactly what This Writer feared it would be – a load of rubbish.
It is interesting that the report accuses Jeremy Corbyn of being “incompetent” in dealing with incidents of anti-Semitism, because that is exactly how I would describe the committee’s inquiry. Its questioning was biased; its choice of witnesses was appalling and its conclusions show no attempt at balance whatsoever.
If you want evidence to support the above, just pick up a copy of my book, The Livingstone Presumption (see advert, below). Appendix 1 contains an account of proceedings at one session of the CHAC’s inquiry, showing very clearly that members had already decided their verdict before they asked a single question.
Mr Corbyn has already responded in a Facebook post, which includes the following notable comments:
“Although the Committee heard evidence that 75 per cent of antisemitic incidents come from far right sources, and the report states there is no reliable evidence to suggest antisemitism is greater in Labour than other parties, much of the report focuses on the Labour party.
“As the report rightly acknowledges, politicising antisemitism – or using it as a weapon in controversies between and within political parties – does the struggle against it a disservice.”
“I am also concerned by some other aspects of the Committee’s report. The Committee heard evidence from too narrow a pool of opinion, and its then-chair rejected both Chakrabarti’s and the Jewish Labour Movement’s requests to appear and give evidence before it. Not a single woman was called to give oral evidence in public, and the report violates natural justice by criticising individuals without giving them a right to be heard.
“The report’s political framing and disproportionate emphasis on Labour risks undermining the positive and welcome recommendations made in it.”
“The committee chose not to look in any detail at – or come up with proposals for – combatting antisemitism in other parties, our major civic institutions, in the workplace, in schools, in all those places where Jewish people’s life chances might be at risk through antisemitism.
“In the Labour Party, which has been at the forefront of those struggles for equality, we remain committed to doing so. We continue to work with Jewish and other organisations in that endeavor, and are saddened that those on the Committee have chosen not to contribute to it.
“The report unfairly criticises Shami Chakrabarti for not being sufficiently independent. This fails to acknowledge public statements that the offer to appoint Chakrabarti to the House of Lords came after completion of her report, and was based on her extensive legal and campaigning experience.
“Commissioning Chakrabarti was an unprecedented step for a political party, demonstrating Labour’s commitment to fight against antisemitism.”
Earlier in his statement, Mr Corbyn had commented: “The report in fact echoes much of Labour’s own Chakrabarti Inquiry report, including recommendations on language, stereotyping and training.”
He continued: “Labour is already acting on her recommendations, including reform of our internal procedures, changes to the Party’s rule book and expansion of training to tackle antisemitism.
“The Inquiry, which included Baroness Jan Royall, former leader of the House of Lords, and David Feldman, Director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism on its panel, was praised by a number of bodies, including the Jewish Labour Movement, and by John Mann, the Chair of the All Parliamentary Party Group against Antisemitism.
“I am proud that Labour is the only party that has specific protections in place to ensure a zero tolerance approach to antisemitism.”
I would also direct you to the Skwawkbox blog article on the report, which comments very clearly, firstly on the claim that anti-Semitism had become “institutionalised” in the Labour Party:
“When people are desperate to smear, they will often overreach. Such is the case here. Saying that anything is ‘institutional’ implies that it is both entrenched and long-standing. Even if it were true that Labour has an ‘antisemitism’ problem, Corbyn has only been leader for just over a year – too short a time for anything to have become institutionalised ‘on his watch’ or to have dug out an inherited, ‘institutionalised’ issue.
“The report states
The failure of the Labour Party to deal consistently and effectively with antisemitic incidents in recent years risks lending force to allegations that elements of the Labour movement are institutionally antisemitic.
“First, it’s worth noting ‘in recent years‘. So, far from being the condemnation of Corbyn it’s being spun as, if there is a problem it’s years old. And in fact, there’s been no known incident of antisemitism since Corbyn became leader that hasn’t been dealt with ‘consistently and effectively’. That one sentence undermines the report and, even more so, the media handling of it.
“Secondly, note that this comment by the committee claims ‘elements’, plural. But in fact it only heard one claim of institutional antisemitism in one small group.
“The report refers to a Guardian article by Aaron Simons – and that’s it.
“Labour conducted a specific report into his allegations – the Royall Report – and it was a key trigger in the commissioning of the Chakrabarti report, so claims that Labour did not take it seriously are clearly nonsense.
“Laughably, in spite of all the furore and completely ignored by the media, the report says:
Despite significant press and public attention on the Labour Party, and a number of revelations regarding inappropriate social media content, there exists no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of antisemitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party. We are unaware whether efforts to identify antisemitic social media content within the Labour Party were applied equally to members and activists from other political parties, and we are not aware of any polls exploring antisemitic attitudes among political party members, either within or outside the Labour Party. The current impression of a heightened prevalence of antisemitism
“HUH?! The report admits there’s no evidence that antisemitism is a particular problem in the Labour party – and admits that the CHAC has no idea whether ‘the impression’ of antisemitism is based on a fair examination of Labour and other parties.
“So why exactly is the CHAC publishing a report specifically to criticise Corbyn’s handling of a problem of whose existence they admit there is no [insert expletive of your choice here] evidence?!
“And don’t forget – Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches’ programme spent 6 months undercover at Corbyn’s Labour and found exactly the same evidence of any abuse or antisemitism:
Jeremy Corbyn has come under strong personal attack from a cross-party committee of MPs investigating the growth of antisemitism for helping to create a safe space for people with “vile attitudes towards Jewish people”.
In a damning indictment of the party and its leader, the powerful home affairs select committee claims that Corbyn’s lack of action “risks lending force to allegations that elements of the Labour movement are institutionally antisemitic”. In the report, published on Sunday , Labour is said to have been “demonstrably incompetent” in dealing with incidents of anti-Jewish abuse.
An inquiry into antisemitism in Labour carried out by Shami Chakrabarti on the orders of Corbyn earlier this year is described as “ultimately compromised”. Its independence was thrown into doubt by Chakrabarti’s acceptance of a peerage and a job in the shadow cabinet, the committee writes.
The MPs criticise Chakrabarti for describing antisemitic abuse as merely “unhappy incidents”, and note her failure to respond to requests for a timeline proving that there was no connection between her elevation to the Lords and her inquiry. They write: “Ms Chakrabarti has not been sufficiently open with the committee about when she was offered her peerage, despite several attempts to clarify this issue with her.”
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