British Labour Party examining hundreds antisemitism complaints

The Jewish Labour Movement turned over the complaints to the party, many of them appearing on social media and related to Margaret Hodge.

By JTA
July 31, 2018 15:48
1 minute read.
Demonstrators take part in an antisemitism protest outside the Labour Party headquarters

Demonstrators take part in an antisemitism protest outside the Labour Party headquarters in central London, Britain April 8, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/SIMON DAWSON)

The British Labour Party is investigating more than 250 complaints of antisemitic abuse.

The Jewish Labour Movement turned over the complaints to the party, many of them appearing on social media and related to Margaret Hodge.

Hodge, a Labour lawmaker, confronted party leader Jeremy Corbyn after the decision earlier this month to adopt a softened definition of antisemitism, calling him a “f***ing antisemite and a racist” and urging him to quit the party. The party has warned Hodge that she will be disciplined.
British Jews criticise Labour's Corbyn over antisemitism, March 27, 2018 (Reuters)

A second lawmaker, Ian Austin, a supporter of Labour Friends of Israel whose adoptive father was a Czech Jewish refugee from the Nazis, also faces party discipline after saying in a radio interview that Corbyn has been “supporting and defending all kinds of extremists and in some cases, frankly, antisemites,” and called the Labour Party a “sewer.”

Among the antisemitic social media posts attacking Hodge, some called her a “Zionist bitch” and accused her of being paid for her support by Israel. Other posts on pro-Corbyn Facebook groups are alleged to have drawn parallels between Israel and the Nazis.

An unnamed Labour source told The Sun tabloid that the majority of those reported for antisemitic abuse were not party members.

“We have now processed all 252 names and identified those who are members of the party,” Sophie Goodyear, head of complaints at the Labour Party, wrote to the Jewish Labour Movement, the daily newspaper The Independent reported Sunday. “These individuals are now being dealt with through the next step of our procedure for complaints of antisemitism.”

Labour under Corbyn, a hard-left politician who has called Hezbollah and Hamas his “friends” and who is fighting accusations of harboring antisemitic sentiments, has come under intense scrutiny in the media over antisemitic rhetoric by party members. In 2016, an interparliamentary committee accused Labour of creating a “safe space for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people.”

Corbyn has maintained that Labour will not tolerate racist rhetoric by its members. Dozens were kicked out over anti-Semitic statements. However, the party has kept on many Labour members whom Jewish community leaders said engaged in anti-Semitic hate speech.


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