The Labour Party has failed to take disciplinary measures against hundreds of its members accused of antisemitism, according to a new leak.
According to the Sunday Times, members who posted online comments including “Heil Hitler”, “**** the Jews” and “Jews are the problem” are among those who have not been suspended.
A serving Lancashire councillor, 61-year-old Pat Bromley, was only briefly suspended after an online rant on the Rothschild family and “Jewish” media attacks.
In an email sent on April 4 last year, one Corbyn adviser wrote: “Agree with the recommendation to suspend and investigate. Considering she does not have elections coming this May, she has a bit more leeway to apologise and make amends.”
"My mother had to read that this morning. This is not what any of us should be experiencing."Labour MP Ruth Smeeth says her own party's response to antisemitism allegations is "simply not good enough".The Labour Party say: "Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and its organisations."
Posted by Channel 4 News on Sunday, 7 April 2019
Bromley did not apologise and told party officials that she used “Jewish as a blanket term of description without any racist connotations”.”
Of 863 complaints overall, 454 are unresolved, including 249 where the party has not started an investigation, while 176 investigations are ongoing.
Just 29 cases have been referred to the body authorised to expel individuals.
Of 409 cases where a decision was reached, 191 members faced no further action and 145 received a formal warning — which has no impact on membership or ability to stand as party candidate.
Fewer than 30 were expelled. The remaining number – up to 43 members – left the party voluntarily.
Leaked emails also reveal:
• Thomas Gardiner, a Corbyn ally and the powerful chief of Labour’s governance and legal unit, last month frustrated efforts by a member of his staff to fast-track the investigation of a member who condemned two Jewish MPs for being “[Expletive] in the pay of Israel”
• In one case, an MP reported a member for saying the Board of Deputies, Britain’s representative Jewish body, were “[Expletive]” and that saying so was “not antisemitic, it’s anti-****. See Israel.” The member was let off with a warning
• A Labour official said a council candidate who accused Jewish MPs of being “Zionist infiltrators” met the threshold for suspension. She then ruled that because he “is a candidate” he should not be suspended; he faced no action.
Labour has disputed the accuracy of the figures, while a party source said the allegation against Mr Gardiner was ‘the opposite’ of the content of the leaked email.
The source added: “The emails show Thomas Gardiner arguing for an antisemitism complaint to be recorded as antisemitism, in line with the Macpherson principle, and to ensure the case is dealt with through the fast tracked antisemitism procedures.
“This is the opposite of what the Sunday Times claim.”
Tom Watson described the report as “deeply shocking and depressing reading”, adding “Labour members and the Jewish community will not understand how, many years on from the first concerns about antisemitism being raised, we have not got to grips with it”.
Margaret Hodge, the Jewish Labour MP for Barking and a leading figure in the fight against antisemitism, said: “The scale of the abuse, the depth of the hatred and the total lack of action by the Labour Party is astonishing.”
Jonathan Goldstein, the chair of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), condemned the “corruption” within Labour, calling “those who have covered it up” to be “relieved of their duties”.
He added: “Last July, I called the Labour Party institutionally racist against Jews. Today’s revelations in the Sunday Times make clear for all to see just how accurate that statement was.
“Labour members, MPs and the Shadow Cabinet should be ashamed by the conduct of their leadership and demand immediate action.
“Enough is enough.”
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “The Sunday Times investigation shows that our demands to root out anti-Jewish racism have been treated with utter contempt.
“Rather than own up to the problem, the Labour leadership has put its efforts into a cover up operation. Any claims to a politically independent system can now be seen as a total sham.
“Labour must now urgently open up its processes to scrutiny by the Jewish community.”
A Labour spokesperson said: “Lines have been selectively leaked from emails to misrepresent their overall contents.
“Former staffers asked the Leader’s Office for their help with clearing the backlog of cases. This lasted for a few weeks while there was no general secretary, and was ended by Jennie Formby [now in that role].
“The Labour Party takes complaints of anti-semitism extremely seriously and we are committed to rooting it out. All complaints are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures. We can’t comment on individual cases.”
Source: Jewish Chronicle – with edits