Labour Party a 'refuge for antisemites,' according to JLM document

"The party has systematically ignored or downplayed the scale of the challenge it faces," says Jewish Labour Movement.

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn campaigns on Sunday for the upcoming elections. (photo credit: REBECCA NADEN/REUTERS)
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn campaigns on Sunday for the upcoming elections.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has created a place of “refuge” for Jew-hatred, a document leaked to several UK media houses revealed.
The 53-page document that exposes the depths of the party’s antisemitism is a final submission by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) official investigation into Labour’s anti-Jewish sentiment.
The document highlights 70 testimonies given by current and former Labour staff as evidence against the party’s handling of antisemitism. This exposé comes days before the UK general election on Thursday.
In the document, seen by The Jerusalem Post, the JLM highlighted that “the relentless flow of antisemitism is so unabating that it has proved a challenge to complete this submission. New incidents occur on a daily basis and have become normalized and forgotten as the party’s machinery finds more ways of ignoring, denying, relativizing and accepting the antisemitism that has consumed it. Since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, he has made the party a welcoming refuge for antisemites. He has done that in a number of ways, including by publicly supporting antisemites and antisemitic tropes.”
In a statement released over the weekend, the JLM confirmed that the document “is an accurate version of our final submission,” making it clear that this was not how “we would... have wanted our final EHRC submission published by others in this way before the commission was ready to publish its final report next summer.”
The organization also explained why it had referred the Labour Party to the EHRC in November last year.
“Despite the thousands of complaints that have been made, and despite our best efforts, the party has systematically ignored or downplayed the scale of the challenge it faces,” the statement read. “When caught out over their inaction, the party’s leadership has failed to be honest and transparent by misleading or directly lying to the public.
“Since then [November 2018], a significant number of whistle-blowers have come forward to give evidence. Due to the sheer scale and complexity of the evidence presented to the EHRC, we were asked to provide final legal arguments in a closing submission, which was submitted last month.”
This submission summarizes the testimony of whistle-blowers and members given to the EHRC. In some cases, the commission has used its legal powers of compulsion, demonstrating the serious nature of this investigation. “It is only because of the party’s institutional failings to tackle the racism directed toward our members and supporters that such a statutory investigation by the equalities watchdog is necessary.”
Some of the examples included someone who listed 22 examples of antisemitic abuse at party meetings where he was called “child killer,” “Zio scum,” and “Tory Jew.”
The same person was also told that “Hitler was right” and to “oh, shut the F*** up, Jew,” among other slurs.
Another example from a Labour member stated that during a local meeting, other members defended someone who had repeated that “the over-representation of Jews in the capitalist ruling class that gives the Israel-Zionist lobby its power.”
In a separate incident, the document also describes how a parliamentary candidate witnessed “a member tell a Jewish councilor to go home and count their money after they were deselected.”
The JLM document also said that “the Labour Party is no longer a safe space for Jewish people or for those who stand up against antisemitism. That is the disturbing but inevitable conclusion from the evidence that JLM has put before the commission over the course of the past 13 months. It is plain that the party does not consider the race and religion of Judaism to be a characteristic worthy of protection... This is a very dangerous place to be.”
Former Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who is Jewish, reacted to the document on Saturday night, tweeting that she was “beyond horrified and so angry that people whose views echo those of Hitler should ever think they had a home in the Labour Party.”
The leader of London local authority Camden Council, Georgia Gould, described the JLM submission to the EHRC as “horrifying.”
“Jews being called cockroaches, a cancer, subhuman & told Hitler was right,” she tweeted. “A culture of denial & victim blaming. @JewishLabour have stood up for Jewish members when party failed. They are not the problem, they are the best of us.”
On Sunday, JLM national chairman Mike Katz wrote an op-ed in The Guardian about why the organization had chosen not to campaign for the Labour leader, stating that the JLM, “a founding affiliate of the party nearly a century ago, has for the first time effectively downed tools for the election, campaigning only for exceptional candidates who have been the best of allies to us in our fight against the party’s anti-Jewish racism.
“Our members concluded a while ago that Corbyn isn’t fit to be prime minister. Over the past four years, we’ve told the party until we are blue in the face that it is failing its Jewish members and tolerating antisemitism,” he said.