Friday, 30 October 2020

Antsemitism is a disease, but was Corbyn a carrier of it?

 It would be a case pf political cowardice for me not to comment on the news that former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the party following a damning report into antisemitism.

Wales Online report that 

"A spokesperson for the Labour Party 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."

Sir Keir Starmer faced pressure to take action against Corbyn after the former Labour leader refused to fully accept the conclusions of a damning report on anti-Semitism within the party.

Mr Corbyn said he did "not accept all" of the findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which found the party broke the law on harassment and discrimination under his watch.

And he maintained on Thursday that the extent of the problem had been "dramatically overstated for political reasons" by opponents and the media.

In a statement released on Thursday morning, Mr Corbyn said: “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.”

Shortly after Mr Corbyn's statement, Sir Keir told a press conference the findings of the equality watchdog marked a "day of shame" and said he was "truly sorry for all the pain and grief that has been caused".

"If - after all the pain, all the grief, and all the evidence in this report - there are still those who think there's no problem with anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, that it's all exaggerated, or a factional attack, then, frankly, you are part of the problem too," Sir Keir said.

In response to his suspension, Mr Corbyn said he will "strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me."

Adding: "I’ve made absolutely clear those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong.

"I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism."

The report found that the Labour Party breached equality law in its "inadequate" handling of anti-Semitism case, TheMirror reports.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), responsible for the report, found that Jeremy Corbyn's office unlawfully "politically interfered" with almost two dozen alleged cases of anti-Semitism, including of Ken Livingstone and the leader himself.

The 130-page report did not find personal anti-Semitism on the part of Mr Corbyn and no criminal law was broken by Labour.

But it found Labour was responsible for three civil law breaches of the Equality Act:

  • Political interference in anti-Semitism complaints, including by the leader’s office;
  • Failure to provide adequate training to those handling complaints;
  • Harassment through two high-profile members who made anti-Semitic statements, including Mr Livingstone

Sir Keir today praised the "comprehensive, rigorous and professional" report for uncovering unlawful acts, declaring: "The report’s conclusions are clear and stark. They leave no room for equivocation."

Vowing to implement all its recommendations in full, including an independent complaints process, Sir Keir added: "I found this report hard to read and it is a day of shame for the Labour Party."

 What  I find unacceptable is that there appears to be no attempt to distinguish between antisemitism  and criticism of the State of Israel and and its treatment of Palestinians/.

They can obviously linked but many of Israel critics are the sought who criticise all regimes who oppress either their own or other people and I see no reason why Israel should be included as such.

But what of actual antisemitism? I find it hard to believe that it doesn't exist in the Labour Party .

However it seems unlikely it is new phenomena and that it existed under ed Miliband, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and more importantly  beyond or that it  exists in other parties in the UK .

The current accusations  whether legitimate or , seem to have emerged as a bat to hit Corbyn and the left within the Labour party and the failure to investigate how other parties deal with similar accusation seems to me that there was a deliberate decision by some elements of the media to use accusations of antisemitism to attack the first real socialist leader of the Labour Party in living memory.

Over at Nation Cymru Ifan Morgan Jones writes

"For those who haven’t read his response, Corbyn claimed that “anyone claiming there is no antisemitism in the Labour party is wrong” and “one antisemite is too many”. But he also added that the problem had been “dramatically overstated for political purposes by our opponents inside and outside the party”. It’s this final part which seems to have led to the removal of the whip.

The message Starmer wants to send however is clear – there is no place for those who in any way seek to play down the problem of antisemitism, in any way, within the party.

By doing this he is forcing those within the Labour party to pick sides – stick with the new leadership or stick with Jeremy Corbyn’s view.

And he is calculating that the benefit of doing so – by losing what he sees as a problematic element within the party and signalling to the public that Labour is under new management – will outweigh the cost to the party’s popularity of what could be a lengthy civil war which he is not guaranteed to win".

I can't help but agree but the  winners are likely to be a corrupt and inept right wing Tory Party and you  don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see that some of Corbyn accusers did so for this reason and not concern over antisematism 


No comments: