EHRC anti-Semitism report: Corbyn responds

Jeremy Corbyn is clearly not an enemy of the Jewish people.

An obstructive Labour Party bureaucracy under right-wingers who opposed Jeremy Corbyn worked to stop him improving the process for handling complaints of anti-Semitism, the former party leader has said in a statement.

Mr Corbyn’s words are corroborated by the new Equality and Human Rights Commission report, which states that “despite … clear recommendations, the Labour Party did not take action to implement these changes until 2018” – after Jenny Formby had replaced Iain McNicol as general secretary, and with a ruling National Executive Committee dominated by supporters of Mr Corbyn after then-recent elections.

Mr Corbyn said, in a statement on Facebook [boldings mine]:

“As Leader of the Labour Party I was always determined to eliminate all forms of racism and root out the cancer of antisemitism. I have campaigned in support of Jewish people and communities my entire life and I will continue to do so.

“The EHRC’s report shows that when I became Labour leader in 2015, the Party’s processes for handling complaints were not fit for purpose. Reform was then stalled by an obstructive party bureaucracy. But from 2018, Jennie Formby and a new NEC that supported my leadership made substantial improvements, making it much easier and swifter to remove antisemites. My team acted to speed up, not hinder the process.

“Anyone claiming there is no antisemitism in the Labour Party is wrong. Of course there is, as there is throughout society, and sometimes it is voiced by people who think of themselves as on the left.

“Jewish members of our party and the wider community were right to expect us to deal with it, and I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should.

“One antisemite is one too many, but 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. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated.

“My sincere hope is that relations with Jewish communities can be rebuilt and those fears overcome. While I do not accept all of its findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.”

The claim that the scale of the problem was exaggerated has been picked up by the media – I’m hearing it on the BBC as I type this – and it will be interesting to see the accusers squirm as they try to justify their behaviour.

The EHRC investigated 70 complaints of anti-Semitism and found the Labour Party responsible for unlawful harassment against Jewish people in only two.

That’s too many – but it was not enough to justify claims of “institutional” anti-Semitism, so the report has concluded that those claims were false.

I note that none of the people and organisations who made such claims have accepted that finding.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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4 thoughts on “EHRC anti-Semitism report: Corbyn responds

  1. david

    This morning, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published their report into Antisemitism in the Labour Party.

    The report, which we would urge you to read in full, can be found here.

    We want to thank the EHRC for all of their work in the last year and a half, and the Labour Party staff who have worked tirelessly and constructively with the Commission’s investigation.

    The report’s conclusions are clear and stark. The Commission has found that the Labour Party has breached the Equality Act in terms of unlawful harassment and indirect discrimination towards the Jewish community.

    This is a day of shame for the Labour Party. We have failed the Jewish community, our members, our supporters and the British people. That is why, on behalf of the Labour Party, We want to apologise for all of the pain and grief that has been caused to the Jewish community these past few years.

    It is also why we want to make this promise that we will act. Never again will Labour fail to tackle the poison of antisemitism or will we lose the trust of the Jewish community.

    We accept the Commission’s report in full and we will implement all of the recommendations in full, and we have already instructed staff to start taking this work forward.

    But, we must go further. We need to change the Labour Party’s culture.

    It is on all us to make sure that the Labour Party is, once again, an open and welcoming place for people from all backgrounds and all communities.

    Under our leadership, zero-tolerance of antisemitism will mean precisely that. There can be no more denials and no more excuses.

    We will repair the breach and we will restore trust. We know it will take time and hard work, but we will do it. That is our mission and it is the commitment we made when we were elected.

    We will only consider it a success when those members who left our Party because of antisemitism feel safe to return and when we no longer see the words “Labour” and “antisemitism” in the same sentence.

    As a party member, I hope we can count on your support in implementing the EHRC’s recommendations over coming weeks and months. If at any time you have any questions please send them to [email protected].

    Keir Starmer
    Leader of the Labour Party

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The EHRC report points out that the Labour Party discriminated against people accused of anti-Semitism just as much – if not more – than against Jewish people. Why did Starmer not apologise for that?

Comments are closed.