Corbyn explains his plan to banish anti-Semitism from Labour. Is it any good?

Jeremy Corbyn: When it comes to fighting anti-Semitism, he has to tackle the PERCEPTION of it that has been built up by the TORY-supporting press.

He could do better.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has written a piece in the Evening Standard, outlining his plans to strengthen the party’s process for investigating accusations of anti-Semitism against members.

It came before his meeting today with representatives of the Jewish Labour Movement and the Jewish Leadership Council. These organisations refused to attend a roundtable meeting with other Jewish organisations, saying they were representative of what has become known as “the wrong kind of Jew” – so it was heartening to see Mr Corbyn’s response:

I want to engage with the full range and diversity of Jewish organisations and have no truck with any attempt to divide the Jewish community into the “right” and “wrong” sort of Jews. Debate and pluralism are abiding characteristics of the Jewish community, and I celebrate them both within and without the Labour Party.

And let’s not forget that some of the organisations lobbying Labour over anti-Semitism are political opponents of the party:

Addressing the issue at hand, Mr Corbyn states:

The evidence is clear enough. Labour staff have seen examples of Holocaust denial,

Is he sure? If he’s referring to the case against me, he should know that it isn’t true. In fact he does know, because I have told him:

crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one member who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood.

It is true that there are genuine cases of anti-Semitism in Labour, of course – as there are (unreported) in the Conservative Party and elsewhere.

We are taking action. In the past fortnight more than 20 individuals have been suspended from party membership, and more are being investigated.

That is interesting. Suspension prior to investigation implies an assumption of guilt – in contradiction of British justice. One of the excuses provided by national newspapers for publishing allegations about me as fact was that my membership of the Labour Party had been suspended over them. This is among the reasons I am working up a legal case against the Labour Party at the moment.

But we have not done enough to get to grips with the problem, and the Jewish community and our Jewish members deserve an apology. My party and I are sorry for the hurt and distress caused.

Yes, but Jewish members also deserve an apology from those who have made false, malicious and opportunistic claims against people they see as political opponents within the party. They have brought investigations of genuine anti-Semitism into disrepute.

That is why our new general secretary Jennie Formby has, on my instruction, made it her priority to get on top of this problem and ensure that all complaints are dealt with swiftly and fairly, with investigations resourced as necessary. She will be setting out her plans in the coming weeks, including the appointment of a new legal adviser, and we are already taking action in many cases.

This Writer is looking forward to the publication of these plans with great anticipation.

We will also embark on a programme of political education to deepen Labour members’ understanding of what anti-Semitism is and how to counter it.

Education, I hope – not indoctrination. That is why I certainly hope the Jewish Labour Movement has nothing to do with it. JLM has a history of entrapment – trying to lure people into saying things that, with a little twisting, can be interpreted as anti-Semitism – and that isn’t acceptable.

When members of Jewish communities express genuine anxieties we must recognise them as we would those of any other community. Their concerns are not “smears”.

In the case of genuine anxieties, this is certainly true – and I am glad that this implies party investigators will check the veracity of complaints to ensure that they really are genuine. Will Mr Corbyn (or Ms Formby) confirm that this will happen?

If not – if false, malicious and opportunistic complaints made for the sake of harming political opponents continue to be entertained as genuine, if the planned political education is carried out by a biased organisation like the Jewish Labour Movement, if people who are innocent until proven guilty continue to have their memberships suspended on the basis of a lazy accusation, then Mr Corbyn’s words are just a lot of hot air (or cold ink, if you prefer).

Source: Jeremy Corbyn: What I’m doing to banish anti-Semitism from the Labour Party | London Evening Standard

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12 thoughts on “Corbyn explains his plan to banish anti-Semitism from Labour. Is it any good?

  1. Simon Cohen

    It’s a bit worrying that Corbyn is bending and cringing before media pressure on this issue and it’s manipulation by the disgraceful may who said ‘Antisemitism is rife in the Labour Party’ when there is no evidence that it is.

    What concerns me as a person of Jewish background and a Labour momentum member is:

    1) How many of the accusations of anti-semitism are real antisemitism

    2) Why were the most publicised suspension for alleged anti-semitism carried out against Jewish member or members of jewish background.

    3) Why do leading jewish academics like Norman Finkelstein and Jamie Wiener challenge the whole idea that there is a deep -seated anti-semitism in Labour and that many cases of alleged anti-semitism are nothing of the sort.

    4) Why hasn’t a distinction been drawn between antisemitism proper and anti-Israeli Government sentiment? And why hasn’t Corbyn challenged the media about its bogus ideas about what constitutes anti-semitism?

    5) Sadly, and for the first time, Corbyn is dancing to the media tune instead of taking control, calming the hysteria that has been whipped up and getting a rational debate going about what IS and ISN’T antisemitism.

    The media now has Corbyn on the ropes about this and fueled the neo-liberals in his Party and given ammunition for the disgraceful Tories to bash him with.

    1. Zippi

      Exactly. What many Jews probably don’t realise is that they’re being used. I say that the way out of it, to take the power away from those people who are abusing this, is to abandon anti-Semitism, as a concept. We have racism; is that not enough? Most people don’t know what anti-Semitism even is and couldn’t recognise a Jew if they wore a label. By separating Jews from the rest of humanity and treating them as, somehow, special, different, we are making Jews a target and magnet for further abuse. With anti-Semitism, Jews stand alone. With racism, the racially abused, stand together. By treating one people differently from all others who experience racial discrimination and/ or abuse, we are set against each other and who benefits?

  2. Lauretta Pearson

    I remember about 5 to 6 years ago someone contacting me on Facebook privately and on my wall to discuss Holocaust denial. I tried to brush off their comments without being rude. I ended up having to block them. They should still be on my blocked list. I think a good journalist should try and find out who this person is. They had a weird American sounding made up name. If Facebook want to make amends they should help in tracing this person or persons. It is my opinion that this has been helped along by non Labour members and supporters. It was when we had a group called Labour: Taking Back Our Party (LTBOP). We were swamped by MPs, journalists etc joining the group. It is my opinion and only MY opinion this was planned!

  3. Wanda Lozinska

    The NEC should also make it clear that anyone making false accusations will also be dealt with appropriately. Difficult if they’re not in LP but this should stop some of them.

  4. Barry Davies

    Let’s be honest people have their own preferences and ideas and no legislation will alter that, it’s a bit like telling Liverpool supporters they have to be nice about Manchester United.

  5. Florence

    Your concerns are widely shared.

    Meanwhile, in the real world we have a racist for PM presiding over racist policies. Fact.

  6. Douglas Thain

    Let us be clear we have evidence of a minority of our members or Supporters who have antisemitic views. And we should be taking steps to deal with it as we should with any other level of discrimination. I am sorry but despite the seriousness of this issue I cannot accept that the media and others have not been manipulating this issue to attack and undermine the party and Jeremy just before the elections. And no matter what Jeremy has said to them they won’t accept that he and we the party are serious about dealing with this. They are still looking to keep this going .so maybe it’s just my suspicious nature but I just beleive there is a different agenda going on here. What about windrush Syria West bank children being Shot what about Tory austerity and our people being forced to use food banks and our homeless people. What about the people waiting for a consultants appointment or hospital appointment for treatment. What about the elderly the disabled the severely sometimes terminally ill rationed to 10 minute care visits. What about all of our people waiting for help with mental health issues. Is antisemitism realy our number one priority compared to these issues?

  7. foggy

    It has been stated that anti-Semitism is higher in the right wing of politics. Does anyone know if the BoD,,JLC etc have demanded to have talks with the leaders of those right wing political parties with a list of stringent demands ?

    Would be interesting to find out

  8. Tom Mapfumo

    77% of Jews vote Tory and are a dominant Zionist faction. The issue of Zionism is never raised in the MSM and Anti-Semitism remains undefined by the MSM while the Labour right-wing continue to implicate left-wing Jews both in and outside the party. This does need clarification, as do the competing variations of definitions of AntiSemitism. The public must think that the Labour Party simply dislikes Jews for no good reason, rather than oppose the Israeli Regime for its flouting of basic Palestinian Human Rights.

    1. Simon Cohen

      Absolutely, which is why is suggested above that we need a debate about anti-antisemitism establishing clear definitions and boundaries.

      The problem we have now is that Corbyn and the Left were wrong footed by the media and didn’t manage to regain control of the issue on the Left’s own turf.

      Guido Fawkes unearthing the 2012 tweet about the mural should have elicited a strong debate about the nature of anti-semitism and whether the mural could be ‘automatically’ considered antisemitic-instead the media and people like John Mann started defining anti-semitism; as a Jew I strongly resent the media and characters like JOohn Mann defining anti-semitism for me.

      1. Zippi

        Why did nobody in Corbyn’s team do any research into the mural? Why did nobody contact the artist? Why did nobody find out what the mural was about? Who the people in it were? What the symbolism was? The same thing happened with Naz Shah. Why is it that people, even within the £abour Party are quick to condemn and apologise, without being in possession off the facts? I posted a video of the painting of the mural, with a voice over from the artist, which explained all of that. I have read several interviews with the artist, regarding the mural and subsequent studio painting of the same subject. These are not difficult to find online. Furthermore, this mural was destroyed 6 years since. Why it is news? Guido Fawkes is nasty outfit that has no interest in truth, or justice, or even combating prejudice. It seeks to sew the seeds of disquiet and conflict.

  9. Zippi

    I read the letter in the Standard and wondered about poor Ken £ivingstone and the lack of truth searching from those in power to do something about it. There has been much hysteria but not much upturning of stones. I am very worried, when it comes to this overemphasis on “anti-Semitism” and I say, again, we must, we MUST abandon the idea of it as a concept. Dividing peoples, favouring, or appearing to favour one people over other will only lead to trouble and it must not be entertained!
    It was interesting to see Emily Thornberry, on Andrew Marr, being quite loud about “anti-Semitism” yet, when asked by Nick Robinson, if she thought that the government, or the government’s policy was racist, in relation to the Windrush situation, she remained silent. Why?

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