BBC to dismiss Labour complaint over Panorama antisemitism expose - report

The special – Is Labour Anti-Semitic? – indicated that top Labour figures “interfered” with the disciplinary process regarding the antisemitism disputes.

November 4, 2019 05:31
2 minute read.
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a launch event for the Labour party

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a launch event for the Labour party's general election campaign in London, Britain October 31, 2019. . (photo credit: REUTERS/HENRY NICHOLLS)

The BBC will reportedly dismiss UK Labour’s complaint about a special episode of the broadcasters Panorama program’s expose on the party’s antisemitism.

According to The Guardian and The Jewish Chronicle, sources claimed that the BBC Executive Complaints Unit has completed its investigation into the complaints raised by the Labour Party over the content of the episode that aired in July.

The special, “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?” indicated that top Labour figures “interfered” with the disciplinary process regarding the antisemitism disputes.

Prior to its July screening, the Labour Party tried to prevent the BBC from broadcasting the documentary.

It reasoned that “no proper and serious attempt was made to understand our current procedures for dealing with antisemitism, which is clearly essential to reach a fair and balanced judgment.”
“And [instigative journalism program] Panorama distorted and manipulated the truth and misrepresented evidence to present a biased and selective account,” Labour said in a statement, following the episode’s release.

The Guardian also reported that the Labour Party submitted a 28-page complaint to the BBC, which charged that it had a “tendentious and politically slanted script” and a “bias in the selection of interviewees,” among other claims that it had “many, many inaccuracies.”

The BBC investigation discovered that there were a thousand antisemitism allegations that were backlogged this spring, but only 15 people have been expelled from the party.

A Labour member said that the claim of a thousand backlogged complaints was untrue.

There have even been complaints from within Labour – including from Izzy Lenga, a party member since 2015.

At the time, the Labour press team rejected the claim that the party was antisemitic on Twitter after the release of the documentary.

“We stand in solidarity with Jewish people, and we’re taking decisive action to root out the social cancer of antisemitism from our movement and society. #Panorama,” the Labour press team tweeted.

“Despite claims made in [the documentary], Labour is taking decisive action against antisemitism,” the party said in a statement. “Since Jennie Formby became general secretary, the rate at which antisemitism cases have been dealt with has increased more than four-fold.”

Allegations of antisemitism within UK Labour have continued to plague the party since Jeremy Corbyn took charge in 2015.

Several Labour MPs and members have quit the party citing antisemitism as a main reason for their departure.

Last week, the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) said in a statement that it would not support or campaign for Labour Party candidates in the upcoming UK general elections because of the way it has mishandled antisemitism.

“We will not be campaigning unless in exceptional circumstances and for exceptional candidates, like our Parliamentary chair Ruth Smeeth, and members of the Parliamentary Labour Party who’ve been unwavering in their support of us,” it said in a statement released on Thursday. “We will not be giving endorsements to candidates in non-Labour held seats.”

JLM charged that “since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in 2015, a culture of antisemitism has been allowed to emerge and fester in the Party at all levels.”

“This crisis of antisemitism in the Labour Party stems from a failure of leadership from Jeremy Corbyn,” the group said. “When the answer has been to take swift, decisive action, the reality has been equivocation and token gestures. Time and time again, the party has not engaged in good faith to try to implement the actions that we believe are necessary to tackle anti-Jewish racism.”

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