Labour members more radically antisemitic under Corbyn leadership

A Labour spokesperson addressed the report, saying that some of those listed are suspended, while others are not party members.

August 4, 2019 02:38
4 minute read.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn

BRITAIN’S OPPOSITION Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn listens to speeches at the Labour Party Conference venue in Brighton yesterday.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Multiple members of the British Labour party have become more publicly and radically antisemitic, according to a 200-page report submitted to an official inquiry, The Telegraph reported.

One party member, for example, made no public Facebook comments about Israel until Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's leadership campaign. Now they post over 300 times per year about the Jewish state, including a claim that "Zionists and other US corporations and others Ford, Royal Dutch, some British bankrolled Hitler before and throughout WW2 ... all for one goal [,] Israel."
Another user, who has shared a post calling Dame Margaret Hodge, a Jewish Labour MP, a "Rothschild Zionist millionaire," said that she has been posting content about Israel "since I heard Jeremy Corbyn speak of the atrocities [in Gaza]."

According to the report which was submitted to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, "hard-core antisemites" joined the party because of Corbyn's election in September 2015 and that the term "Zionist" has seen a sharp spike in use since then as well on online Labour discussion groups.

The report was compiled by David Collier, who has also revealed in the past that the Labour leader was at one time a member of the Facebook group Palestine Live which contains antisemitic messages.

Collier searched through thousands of social media accounts and Facebook groups to document cases of Labour members "who did not publicly display antisemitic ideology until they became infected within the Labour Party mechanisms," according to the Telegraph.

One member, who never mentioned Israel or Gaza before 2015, began to share articles based on antisemitic tropes about the Rothschild family after the Labour leadership campaign that year. The same member described Jon Lansman, who leads the left-wing Momentum group and has spoken out against antisemitism as a "Zionist agent."

Yet another party member only made one public post about Israel before Corbyn's 2015 leadership bid. By September of the next year, she posted two videos based on antisemitic tropes including one titled "The Zionist conspiracy and the UK Government." The next year, she said that "Zionism & Rothschild & Israel & Netenyahu [sic] and that meddling Queen whose Prussian family created Israel and Saudi Arabia need to be kept out of British politics."

Collier stated that "The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader in September 2015 established the toxic environment which enabled the growth of rampant anti-Zionist hostility and inevitably antisemitism," adding that he has found a "clear pattern" supporting the "general assumption" that the "the Labour party was invaded by extremists when Jeremy Corbyn became leader," according to the Telegraph.

Two other Labour members, one who had posted about "Zionists controlling the Tory party" and another who had said that "Zionism has a measure of hate just as pernicious as Isis (Islamic State) The only difference is who controls the media reporting??," only joined Labour after Corbyn became the leader of the party.

A Labour spokesperson addressed the report, saying that some of those listed are suspended, while others are not party members.

"The vast majority of Labour members are motivated by equality, justice and fairness, and despise antisemitism. As the data we have released shows, antisemitism complaints relate to a small minority of members, but one antisemite is one too many," said the spokesperson.

"Jeremy Corbyn has made clear that antisemitism has no place in the Labour Party and we have taken decisive action to tackle it, with a more than four-fold increase in the rate at which antisemitism cases are dealt with, an education programme launched by Jeremy Corbyn about different forms of antisemitism," added the spokesperson.

A party source stated that "these claims aren't borne out by the facts," adding that half the complaints that were dealt with in early 2016 "pre-dated Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader and complaints about antisemitism relate to 0.1 per cent of Party members."

"The levels of antisemitic attitudes among Labour voters decreased during the period that Jeremy Corbyn has been leader," added the source.

In July, the Labour party launched a website titled "No Place for Antisemitism" aimed at providing "Labour members and supporters with some basic tools" to overcome antisemitism.

In an email to all members of the party, Corbyn stated that members of the movement need to “educate ourselves and each other to better stand in solidarity with and unite all those facing oppression and discrimination. That’s why we are launching education materials for our members and supporters to help them confront bigotry, wherever it arises."

Corbyn continued: “Over the coming months, the party will produce educational materials on a number of specific forms of racism and bigotry. Our first materials are on antisemitism, recognizing that anti-Jewish bigotry has reared its head in our movement. Hatred towards Jewish people is rising in many parts of the world. Our party is not immune from that poison – and we must drive it out from our movement.”

Alex Winston contributed to this report.

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