LIVE BLOG: EHRC’s damning verdict on Labour antisemitism: GUILTY AS CHARGED
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LIVE BLOG: EHRC’s damning verdict on Labour antisemitism: GUILTY AS CHARGED

Unrivaled coverage of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s damning verdict throughout the day on Jewish News’ live blog.

Welcome to the live blog!

Labour is bracing itself for the result of a human rights investigation into how it has handled the antisemitism crisis that has rocked the party.

The much-anticipated release of a report into the situation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to be released on Thursday is likely to cause more turmoil in the party’s ranks.

It comes after years of complaints over how allegations of antisemitism were dealt with under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Read more here.

Follow Jewish News’ live blog for all the latest news, opinion, reaction and analysis to the release of the report.

And a reminder, that this week, the paper will be out on FRIDAY.

Read full coverage of the EHRC report in your paper TOMORROW.

Dame Margeret Hodge: EHRC report will be ‘beginning of the end’ of battle

Dame Margaret Hodge said she is “relieved” that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) inquiry will be published on Thursday.

Dame Margaret told the PA news agency: “I am very relieved to finally have a publication date.

“We will have to see what it says but I’m hoping this will be the beginning of the end for those of us who have been fighting antisemitism in the Labour Party for five long years.”

Read more here.

Dame Margaret Hodge. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

 

Ashworth: Report ‘probably was’ most shameful moment in Labour’s history

Asked if the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s investigation into institutional racism within Labour marked the most shameful moment in the party’s history, Jonathan Ashworth agreed that “it probably was, yes”.

Speaking on Times Radio on Wednesday morning, the shadow health secretary said: “A lot of this was about the fact that there was just a refusal to acknowledge the issue.

“I obviously don’t know what’s in the report, because it’s confidential, but that was a shameful period in our history, and we have to be clear that we are never going back to that, and we will do everything we can to repair relations with the Jewish community who are understandably and quite rightly hurt by the Labour Party’s failure to deal with this in recent years.”

The report is due to be published on Thursday

 

David Miliband: Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of antisemitism row ‘appalling’

Labour former foreign secretary David Miliband has said that ex-leader Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of the antisemitism controversy that rocked the party was “appalling”.

Miliband said Mr Corbyn had failed to deal with the issue properly, and that Labour had gone through a “dreadful, dark, shameful period”.

He told Times Radio: “I’m not going to claim I know what’s in Jeremy Corbyn’s heart.

“What I’m clear about is that he failed to deal with this issue in a way that was appalling in all its aspects.

“Whether it be cartoons or statements, they reflected a complete blindness to the issue and to the importance of it.”

Mr Miliband said he felt “shame” about the situation.

He said: “I can honestly say I never thought I would see the day when the word antisemitism and Labour were in the same sentence.

“Never mind headline, never mind Commission on Human Rights investigation.

“It’s a dreadful, dark, shameful period and the failure to be clear, the failure to be decisive, the failure to say that anyone who is an anti-Semite isn’t welcome in the Labour Party, the failure to clear that out is a source of shame for me as someone who’s still a member of the Labour Party.”

Read more here.

David Miliband. Credit: Jillian Edelstein

Man facing jail over online harassment of Dame Margaret Hodge

Jewish Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge was left feeling “disturbed” after she was branded a “racist Zionist” in a harassment campaign, a court has heard.

Nicholas Nelson, 31, is facing a possible jail sentence after pleading guilty at Bristol Magistrates’ Court last month to three counts of sending communications of an offensive nature in 2018.

Prosecutor Simon Maughan said the offence against Dame Margaret, MP for Barking, east London, has been flagged as a “hate crime”.

The other charges relate to the abuse of Dame Louise Ellman and Lord (John) Mann, who were also both Labour MPs at the time, leading to Nelson’s sentencing hearing being moved to London.

Margaret Hodge on LBC

Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told that, on July 18 2018, Dame Margaret’s parliamentary assistant answered an abusive phone call.

Nelson said: “Margaret should f*** off, you f***ing racist Zionist c***. You need to get out of the party and I hope you die, you Tory c***.”

Mr Maughan said that, in a further phone call the same day, Nelson added: “Margaret Hodge is an apartheid-supporting disgusting scumbag bitch.”

The court heard that Dame Margaret was also told by her parliamentary office staff about abusive emails that had been sent.

‘No one has a clear picture’ of true figure for antisemitism cases

In November 2019, the Jewish Labour Movement warned the party that 130 cases of antisemitism remained outstanding against its members.

This morning a JLM source told Jewish News the true figure is now “unknown”, adding: “No one has a clear picture” since Corbyn stepped down.

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the Jewish Labour Movement’s Chanukah Party in 2017

EHRC verdict on Labour antisemitism: GUILTY!

KEY FINDINGS FROM THE EHRC REPORT:

  • The Labour Party must make positive change in its policies, processes and culture, to benefit all of its members, and to rebuild trust among the Jewish community and the wider public 
  • The EHRC report has revealed serious failings in leadership and an inadequate process for handling antisemitism complaints across the Labour Party and multiple failures in the systems it uses to resolve them.
  • There were unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination for which the Labour Party is responsible
  • A culture within the Party which, at best, did not do enough to prevent antisemitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it
  • A culture at odds with the Labour Party’s commitment to zero tolerance of antisemitism
  • It is hard not to conclude that antisemitism within the Labour Party could have been tackled more effectively if the leadership had chosen to do so
  • Evidence of unlawful political interference in the handling of antisemitism complaints
  • Staff from the Leader of the Opposition’s Office (LOTO) were able to influence decisions on complaints, especially decisions on whether to suspend someone.

 

 

EHRC REPORT: Evidence of ‘unlawful acts, harassment and discrimination’

A long-awaited report into antisemitism in the Labour Party by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has found evidence of “unlawful acts harassment and discrimination” as well as “political interference” in cases.

The statutory body had been asked whether the party under former leader Jeremy Corbyn had broken equalities law in failing to deal with the raft of cases in a timely and effective manner, and whether this had led to “institutional antisemitism”.

The report, published on Thursday morning, said there had been “a culture within the party which, at best, did not do enough to prevent antisemitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it”, in comments that will confirm the Jewish leaders’ suspicions.

In its view, the EHRC said Labour had “failed to implement the recommendations” in three reports into antisemitism in the party, produced by Baroness Chakrabarti, Baroness Royall and the Home Affairs Select Committee.

 

EHRC: Labour faces deadline to prepare action plan

The Labour Party is required to prepare an action plan for the purpose of avoiding repetition or continuation of the Unlawful Acts.

The EHRC makes recommendations for that purpose which are set out in the executive summary of the Report under the section titled ‘Our recommendations for change’.

The first draft of the action plan must be given to the EHRC by 5pm on Thursday 10 December 2020. 

 

‘Lack of willingness to tackle antisemitism rather than an inability to do so’

EHRC interim chair Caroline Waters has pulled no punches in this report, describing it as “inexcusable” how the Labour leadership under Jeremy Corbyn failed to tackle antisemitism in the party in “multiple areas”.

She said this “appeared to be the result of a lack of willingness… rather than an inability to do so”.

Ouch.

Jewish leaders: EHRC report ‘proves why we were so distressed’

Jewish communal reaction is already flooding in. In a joint statement between the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust, leaders take aim at the Islington MP directly, calling Corbyn “a figurehead for old and new anti-Jewish attitudes”.

Meanwhile the Campaign Against Antisemitism, whose complaint together with the Jewish Labour Movement prompted the EHRC investigation, declared: “The debate is over. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party became institutionally antisemitic.” This kind of language should be expected today, after five years of pent up frustration.

Around 1,500 were estimated to have turned up to say no to anti-Semitism in Westminster

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board, Jonathan Goldstein, Chair, of the JLC, and Mark Gardner, CEO of the CST – joint statement in full: 

“This report is a damning verdict on what Labour did to Jews under Jeremy Corbyn and his allies. It proves why British Jews were so distressed and it disgraces those who attacked us for speaking out against anti-Jewish racism.

“Our Jewish community never wanted this fight, but we had to defend ourselves and are proud to have done so. We thank all those who stood with us, despite the abuse they received as a result.

“Jeremy Corbyn will rightly be blamed for what he has done to Jews and Labour, but the truth is more disturbing, as he was little more than a figurehead for old and new anti-Jewish attitudes. All of this was enabled by those who deliberately turned a blind eye.

“Now, the task of cleaning out the problem lies with the current leadership. We welcome the start that Keir Starmer has made, but the scale of the challenge that lies ahead should not be underestimated.

“We will continue to give our support to all who work to drive racism out of our politics and out of our society.”

 

Jeremy Corbyn responds to EHRC report: ‘One antisemite is one too many’

Wait – is this something approaching an apology from Corbyn? Writing on Facebook, he says: “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 that it should.”

In a subtle dig at Lord McNicol, Jennie Formby’s predecessor in the role of Labour Party general secretary, he adds that “my team acted to speed up, not hinder, the process”. So – an apology, alongside an “it wasn’t me, guv”. Not that it matters now.

Read his statement in full: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jeremy-corbyn-responds-to-ehrc-report/

“Antisemitism is absolutely abhorrent, wrong and responsible for some of humanity’s greatest crimes. 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.”

Jeremy Corbyn. (Photo credit: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire via Jewish News)

Holocaust education chief: ‘Take responsibility, begin journey back to morality’

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust has reacted to the EHRC report, saying: “After five years of rampant antisemitism in a mainstream political party, this damning report confirms all that has been said about the depth of the endemic anti-Jewish racism in Labour. The hurt and pain that has been caused is unquantifiable and the impact is still felt.”

Holocaust denial, conspiracy theories and Jew hate are unacceptable in all walks of life, and certainly nobody expected it to fester in a political party founded on anti-racism, but it did. Today is not the end of this dark chapter, but an opportunity for the Labour Party to consign this shameful period to history, take responsibility and begin the journey back to any sort of morality.

Karen Pollock

We have seen good people speak out and call out this abhorrent racism over the past few years and we thank them. It is a lesson to us all in not standing by when hatred and prejudice rears its head”

 

23 instances of inappropriate interference by Corbyn’s team

The EHRC, which had the statutory power to demand copies of internal Labour documents and communications, found 23 instances of inappropriate interference by Corbyn’s team and others in the 70 files it examined.

This appears to back up claims made by former staffers turned whistleblowers who told BBC’s Panorama programme that there had been political interference in what should have been independent antisemitism investigations.

Sir Keir Starmer (left) alongside then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre), and Rebecca Long-Bailey

Keir Starmer: EHRC report findings ‘a day of shame for Labour’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, speaking in a news conference currently underway, has said it is “a day a shame for the Labour Party” which now “needs a culture change”

He said: “We have failed Jewish people… Jewish members driven out of parliament, including Louise Ellman and Luciana Berger. I hear you. I will act. Never again will we fail to tackle antisemitism. The Labour Party I lead accepts this report in full. Under my leadership, zero tolerance will mean exactly that.”

Wow.

If anyone wants to know how to draw a line, check this out. His reaction to this report was always going to be more important than the reaction of the man he replaced, the man whose conduct and record in office Starmer has just thrown – like a frisbee – out of Labour Party HQ.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech during the party’s online conference from the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum in Doncaster.

Corbyn staff ‘interfered in decision to investigate Ken Livingstone’

GLU staff have the power to decide whether or not to investigate a compalint and Leader of the Opposition staff “should not have any role in these decisions.”

But on page 44 of the report, “interference in decisions on whether to investigate”, there are examples where “LOTO staff made or influenced this decision,” including a second complaint of antisemitism made against Ken Livingstone.

The report states: “The Labour Party confirmed to us that a decision to ‘go to Disputes’, that is, to the NEC Disputes Panel, which was described as having been made ‘higher up’, was likely to refer to the decision having been made by LOTO and the General Secretary’s Office (GSO).

“It therefore appears that LOTO staff, and potentially GSO staff, interfered in the decision to investigate the conduct of Ken Livingstone.”

Antisemitism campaigners: ‘A matter of shame and regret for the Labour Party’

Hope Not Hate, an advocacy group that campaigns against antisemitism, have issued the following statement:

“The findings of the EHRC investigation are both unequivocal and damning and vindicate the concerns of many in the Jewish community, both within the Labour Party and outside.

“Those who led, ran and administered the Labour Party over this period have serious questions to answer, and the entire party from members to MPs and Peers should reflect on this period and ask themselves how this was allowed to happen for so long.

“The report documents a catalogue of failings of the utmost seriousness – unlawful conduct, harassment, discrimination, political interference and a lack of leadership.

“It should be a matter of shame and regret to the Labour Party that it’s leadership at the time should have allowed this to occur in a supposedly universal political party in modern Britain.

“The one of the most serious accusations levelled at the leadership was found to be true – that of unlawful political interference from the Leader of the Opposition’s Office, compounded with obstruction of the EHRC investigation.

“This is a matter of the utmost concern and the party must now consider the future within the Labour movement for all involved at this level.

“We agree with the report findings that the problems within the Labour Party could have been tackled more effectively if the leadership had chosen to do so, and that a culture of toleration, verging on encouragement was at odds with a professed ‘zero tolerance’ of antisemitism.

“None of these findings are a surprise. Jewish Labour members were vocal about the discrimination and wrongdoing they were subjected to – but instead of being listened to they were ignored, smeared and abused.

“The pain and hurt they feel as a result of their treatment extends beyond Labour members through to the wider Jewish community across the country.

“We have no doubt that there will be many expressions of solidarity and regret in the days to come, but to truly put this behind them and find a way forward the Labour Party needs to act.

“That action must include every single recommendation in the EHRC’s report – but these recommendations are just the start of the journey to making the party a welcoming and inclusive party for everyone.”

Anti-racism group: Party must ‘consider future’ of those ‘obstructing’ EHRC

Like Chinese water torture, the constant damning indictments just keep dripping in, and not just from the Jewish community.

Anti-racism organisation Hope Not Hate is now saying that the finding of unlawful political interference from Corbyn’s Office was “compounded with obstruction of the EHRC investigation,” adding: “This is a matter of the utmost concern and the party must now consider the future within the Labour movement for all involved at this level.”

Make your own minds up, but this feels like one of the UK’s most respected anti-racism organisations suggesting, in a less-than-subtle way, that Starmer should consider whether Corbyn & Co. should remain in the Labour Party.

 

Luciana Berger: “Antisemitism permeated Labour Party from the top right to the very bottom”

Former Labour MP Luciana Berger is speaking now on The Emma Barnett Show on Radio 5 Live,

She describes the findings as “damning” and “it’s been a long time coming.”

She said: “It’s a very emotional day, it comes after a very tumultuous time. I had to take the decision to leave 18 months ago, a decision I never anticipated I had to make.

“The antisemitism permeated the Labour Party from the top right to the very bottom.”

“I’m very grateful this extensive investigation has taken place and we have the findings we have today. They are very damning.”

 

 

Luciana Berger: ‘If someone shares platform with antisemites, they are one’

Berger told Emma Barnett:

“These things happened in plain sight, they didnt happen behind closed doors. I’m talking about threats, abuse, comments that surfaced from Corbyn himself about the mural.

“The party under his leadership [decided] not to implement the IHRH definitiion of antisemitism in the same way that countless organisations had done so. These events were under his leadership and the experience of labour party members were catalogued in the press.”

Berger also condemned the fact that in 2018, threats were made against her life, but “the party failed to inform myself or the police”.

She said the experience had taken a toll and “there are others for whom this has taken an unprecedented toll on their life.”

She added: “My staff were on the receiving end of “the toxicity of abuse levelled towards me from Labour supporters”, including threats of acid attacks and rape.

Barnett asked: “Is Jeremy Corbyn an antisemite?”

Berger said: “I call a spade a spade. If someone shares a platform with antisemites, they are an antisemite.”

She added that in the wake of today’s statement from him, “there is nothing for us to discuss,” but said he should be investigated by the Labour Party.

 

 

Luciana Berger: ‘Being in the Labour Party was my life’

Berger told The Emma Barnett Show on 5Live: “Being in the Labour party was my life. When something is your life, and you have to remove and divorce yourself from it, it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.

“I’m looking forward now. I’m hoping the labour party can do what it can to rehabilitate and restore itself.”

Barnett asked Berger if she would rejoin the party?

“We’ve just reflected on an incredibly tumultuous few years. My focus now is on my family, my friends and my new job.

“It’s been a very, very difficult time.”

JLM reflects on Corbyn’s future after Starmer statement

The Jewish Labour Movement has just finished its press conference, at which Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge was present, alongside former colleague Ruth Smeeth.

Just as with Sir Keir’s press conference at 11am, almost all the questions related to Corbyn’s comments earlier today (in which he said the antisemitism crisis was exaggerated).

JLM say they will re-engage with Sir Keir if he is true to his pledge to root out the problem, which Sir Keir specifically said included those claiming it had all been exaggerated.

Will he now suspend Corbyn? Everyone wants to know. JLM resists calling specifically for that, but reminds everyone what Sir Keir said, adding that they “will be watching” to see if he is good to his word.

Law firm representing JLM suggests further legal action against Labour

Mishcon de Reya, the City law firm representing the Jewish Labour Movement, suggests further legal action against the party, which has already paid out hundreds of thousands to former staffers who alleged defamation.

Although the EHRC report makes a “general finding of harassment” against the party, a Mishcon lawyers says: “There are potential claims that can be brought in the employment tribunal.

They’re fact specific and subject to specific timings but the report may provide people with fuel and comfort that, where they did not feel comfortable to come out, they now have the backing of an independent body.”

Breaking news: Labour suspends Jeremy Corbyn

Labour has suspended Jeremy Corbyn from the Party.

This comes after the former Labour leader said the scale of the problem of antisemitism had been “dramatically overstated”, in his statement reacting to the EHRC report.

A Labour spokesperson said: “In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation. He has also had the whip removed from the Parliamentary Labour Party.”

Luciana Berger: Suspension of Corbyn the right decision

Luciana Berger on Sky News: “In the wake of today’s response from Jeremy Corbyn, which should have shown contrition and acceptance of the hurt caused and the emotional impact, it was the right decision to remove the whip. These finding have placed a legal duty on the party to make urgent improvements. This was the darkest period in the party’s history, but the former leader once again chose to pass the buck.”

Luciana Berger. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

CAA to target individual MPs

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) has announced it is making a series of complaints against Labour MPs — beginning with former leader Jeremy Corby

In a letter to David Evans, Labour’s general secretary, and party leader Sir Keir Starmer, the CAA says it is resubmitting its pre-existing complaints against Jeremy Corbyn, and asks for them to be dealt with under the new disciplinary process, recommended by the Commission.

The CAA has taken into account Jeremy Corbyn’s own direct response to the EHRC report, whose findings he says he does not fully accept. It says that “the historic elements of the complaints were plainly not dealt with appropriately or objectively”.

It is also submitting a raft of new complaints against sitting and former Labour Party Members of Parliament, parliamentary candidates fielded at the last General Election, and peers. The cases include Diane Abbott, Apsana Begum, Richard Burgon, Barry Gardiner, Afzal Khan and Zarah Sultana, each of whom, the CAA contends have breached Labour’s own rulebook by “repeatedly contending that complaints about antisemitism in the Labour Party were (and are) simply “a smear”, victimising those making allegations of antisemitism within the Party, or engaging in antisemitic acts themselves”.

WATCH: Keir Starmer’s response to EHRC report

Response to the EHRC's report

My response to the EHRC's report into the Labour Party.

Posted by Keir Starmer on Thursday, October 29, 2020

 

JLM and Hodge brand Corbyn ‘irrelevant’ as he’s suspended

The Jewish Labour Movement has said the suspended former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was “yesterday’s man” and “irrelevant” as it sought to look to the future.

Hodge said: “The statement Jeremy chose to put out today demonstrates that he is in permanent denial about the extent of the problem that emerged during his leadership. Even when the evidence is placed in front of him, he fails to understand the importance and severity of it.

“It happened on his watch. He shamed the Labour Party. He sat at the centre of a party that enabled antisemitism to spread from the fringes to the mainstream. But he is yesterday’s man. He is absolutely irrelevant. What we’re looking to – thank goodness – is the present and the future.”

Pressed, Hodge said “it doesn’t matter” whether Corbyn was kicked out, citing similar recent comments from union leader Len McCluskey and Corbyn’s former chief of staff Karie Murphy, before adding: “There is an entrenched cultural challenge.

Looking to the future, JLM said it wanted to see “bold and decisive steps to radically change the culture” in the party, including “a fully independent disciplinary process, preventing casual bullying, intimidation and harassment, and implementing a proper education plan for party members”.

In a warning of what was to follow, JLM chair Peter Mason said: “This includes immediate action in relation to those who… are seeking to diminish the EHRC conclusions.

“Suggesting that complaints of antisemitism are fakes or smears is, as the EHRC points, an act of antisemitism itself. Dealing with such suggestions will be the first test of the leadership of Labour Party’s genuine recognition of the report’s finding.”

Sadiq Khan: We must make Labour a hostile environment for antisemites

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has branded the EHRC’s report into antisemitism a “dark day for the Labour party”, saying its “utterly shameful” the community has been let down.

Welcoming Keir Starmer’s response, he said the party must “now seek to gain the trust of the Jewish community once again” and it “must implement all the recommendations of the EHRC report.”

“As I’ve said time and time again in recent years, we must make the Labour Party a hostile environment for antisemites, rather than one where they can thrive.”

As Mayor, I’ll continue to stand up for Jewish Londoners. And as a Labour politician, I will do everything I can to work with the new leadership of the Labour party to stamp out antisemitism and to bring an end to this appalling chapter in Labour’s history.

OPINION: Report shows why British Jews’ fear of Corbyn was not unfounded

Dave Rich of CST reacts to the EHRC report:

However traumatic the past five years have been for British Jews, we should take comfort from this outcome. The EHRC is a key institution of Britain’s democratic culture and it has held firm in defence of Jewish rights. 

Read more: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/report-shows-why-british-jews-fear-of-corbyn-was-not-unfounded/

JVL petition supporting Corbyn gets 30K signatures

Jewish Voice for Labour, which submitted evidence to the EHRC inquiry, has made no comment on the report’s findings, but instead has turned its attention to Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the Labour Party and is organising a petition to get him immediately reinstated. 

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/30000-sign-petition-to-reinstate-suspended-jeremy-corbyn-launched-by-jvl/

 

Jewish Jeremy Corbyn supporter Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, of Jewish Voice for Labour holds up a sign at the #EnoughIsEnough Demonstration against anti-Semitism, featuring a yellow star and the word Jews
Photo Credit: Marc Morris

Ian Austin and Joan Ryan saddened by EHRC findings

Two former Labour MPs, who are not Jewish but cited antisemitism as their reason for leaving the party, reacted with sadness on Thursday as the full findings of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission into Labour antisemitism were made public.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/joan-ryan-its-not-been-a-day-of-shame-but-four-years-of-shame/

 

Our discrimination wasn’t imagined. It was real, it hurt

All those who told Jewish members they were ‘weaponising’ antisemitism should read the report and take a long hard look at themselves. Our discrimination and victimisation wasn’t imagined. It was real, it hurt and was wrong.

Mike Katz of Jewish Labour Movement responds to the antisemitism report. Read more: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/our-discrimination-wasnt-imagined-it-was-real-it-hurt-and-was-wrong/

Lawyers look to lodge new claims

Mishcon de Reya, the City law firm, said individuals who felt they had suffered harassment may now look to lodge claims at an employment tribunal, claiming the EHRC report could give them “fuel”.

Heroes and villains

From activists to organisations, MPs to rabbis, we pick out those who put their necks on the line to defend the community during the row over Jew-hate in Labour.

 

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/heroes-and-villains-of-the-labour-antisemitism-row/

 

Smeeth, Hodge, Berger and Ellman were among the most vocal critics of Corbyn

This week’s Jewish News front page – UNMASKED

UNMASKED: This week’s Jewish News front page

JVL-backed petition rises to 50K signatures

So far 50,000 names have signed up to the petition, which describes the decision to suspend the former Labour leader as “an injustice”.

His comments in response to the EHRC report, JVL say, “are a political statement a few sentences long. They are not a valid cause for suspension from the Labour Party”. 

Read more here

Stephen Bush: Corbyn condemned himself with the mural

Political editor of the New Statesman, Stephen Bush, who is also the chair of the Board of Deputies’ Commission into Racial Inclusivity in the community, writes for Jewish News.

“..the central problem with the Corbyn era, and with Corbyn himself, was not revealed by anything he or his allies did or did not do as leader.

“…Corbyn condemned himself back in 2012 when he was faced with the sight of a mural that was so virulently and obviously antisemitic, it would not have looked out of place in a sitcom about a hapless buffoon who accidentally commissions an expensive work of art, only to find it is visibly and transparently racist.’

READ MORE HERE.

Board chief executive: We didn’t want this fight, but we had to defend ourselves

Gillian Merron, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, reflects on the EHRC report:

“Our Jewish community never wanted this fight, but we had to defend ourselves and are proud to have done so.”

“Now, the Labour Party has an opportunity to rebuild the trust they once had. I hope they take it.”

Read more here

Members of the Board of Deputies (left to right) Gillian Merron, Jonathan Arkush, Jonathan Goldstein, and Simon Johnson speak to the media on College Green following a meeting with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Chris Williamson calls for unions to disaffiliate from Labour

Firebrand former Labour MP who caused outrage by saying the party had been “too apologetic” in handling antisemitism has called for unions to “defund and disaffiliate form the Party” after Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension.

Len McCluskey bemoans ‘unjust’ suspension

Unite union leader hits out at the decision to suspend his close ally branding it “unjust”.

The trade union boss, who caused outrage in 2017 when he branded Labour antisemitism claims “mood music” to criticise Jeremy Corbyn, made his remarks after the the former Labour leader was suspended for his reaction to the release of  the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on antisemitism.

The Unite chief said it “wrong what happened, but now is the time for some calmness so we can see if we can resolve this.”

He said yesterday, when the EHRC report was released “should have been about moving on from antisemitism and embracing” what it said “which Keir did.”

“Unfortunately now we’ve all been knocked off the rails a little bit by Jeremy’s suspension.

It was unjust – and hopefully with discussions that can take place we can resolve this and we can move on.”

Asked if it will divide the party, he says he hopes the issue can be resolved, and his message to “literally hundreds-of-thousands of our members who are already expressing their anger, is to stay in the party. We need the party to be united. Working people out there need us..”

McCluskey was particularly critical of Labour’s payout to whistleblowers over the party’s handling of antisemitism under Corbyn. “I think funding arrangements is undoubtedly an issue that may come up,” Mr McCluskey added in an interview with BBC Newsnight.

Meet the activists defending the community

Some of the activists who waged a bitter five-year battle against Labour antisemitism tell Jenni Frazer why they took up the anti-racism baton

These are people who are genuinely unpleasant. The minute you start making excuses for racism, or say it is justified because of Israel – when people are prepared to put aside their moral principles to do those things, where do they stop?

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/meet-the-activists-defending-the-community-this-was-everyones-fight/

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his house in North London this morning ahead of the release of an anti-Semitism report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

JN Podcast Special: Panel debate on EHRC’s verdict on Labour antisemitism

Former Labour MP Louise Ellman, New Statesman political editor Stephen Bush, human rights barrister Adam Wagner and Jewish News’ Justin Cohen join a special panel debate dedicated to the EHRC investigation into Labour antisemitism.

The discussion is chaired busy broadcaster Phil Dave.

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