UK Labour Party responsible for discrimination against Jews

Report by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission says Labour violated 3 components of equality laws in addressing, and often failing to address, repeated and numerous incidents of antisemitism.

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn reacts after the General Election results of the Islington North constituency were announced (photo credit: REUTERS / HANNAH MCKAY)
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn reacts after the General Election results of the Islington North constituency were announced
(photo credit: REUTERS / HANNAH MCKAY)
The Equality and Human Rights Commission of the UK has found that the British Labour Party violated three components of equality laws in addressing repeated and numerous incidents of antisemitism within the party.
Following the report's publication and subsequent reactions, the party suspended former leader Jeremy Corbyn, under whom much of the allegations of antisemitism in the party's ranks occurred, Reuters reported.
The EHRC, a statutory government authority, said that “at worst” Labour’s failure to tackle antisemitism in its midst could be seen as acceptance of antisemitism.
The report published on Thursday relates to the period in which the Labour Party was led by Corbyn from 2015 to 2020 who took the party in a sharp turn to the left of British politics, and attracted many hard-left, socialist, anti-Zionist, and antisemitic elements to Labour.
According to the EHRC, the Labour Party is responsible for breaching the Equality Act of 2010 through political interference into antisemitism complaints, failing to provide adequate training to those handling antisemitism complaints, and antisemitic harassment.
“The equality body’s analysis points to a culture within the party which, at best, did not do enough to prevent antisemitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it,” the EHRC said in a statement to the press announcing the findings.
“The EHRC has warned that, despite some recent improvements, the Labour Party must do more if it is going to regain the trust of the Jewish community, the public and many of its members,” the authority continued, adding that the party now has until Dec. 10 to draft an action plan to implement recommendations to tackle antisemitism in the party.
“Our investigation has highlighted multiple areas where its approach and leadership to tackling antisemitism was insufficient. This is inexcusable and appeared to be a result of a lack of willingness to tackle antisemitism rather than an inability to do so,” said Interim Chair  of the EHRC Caroline Waters.
Gideon Falter, CEO of Campaign Against Antisemitism, which was one of the groups which filed a complaint to the EHRC over the Labour Party’s actions, said in response to the report that “The Equality and Human Rights Commission's report is a groundbreaking document. It is the first ever finding by the EHRC of unlawful acts. It heavily criticizes the Labour Party’s former leadership. It makes clear recommendations to ensure that there is zero tolerance of antisemitism in the Party in the future. It provides a robust framework for ensuring that the Party complies.”
The leaders of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust said the report was “A damning verdict on what Labour did to Jews under Jeremy Corbyn and his allies. It proves why British Jews were so distressed and it disgraces those who attacked us for speaking out against anti-Jewish racism.
Jeremy Corbyn will rightly be blamed for what he has done to Jews and Labour, but the truth is more disturbing, as he was little more than a figurehead for old and new anti-Jewish attitudes. All of this was enabled by those who deliberately turned a blind eye.”
The Board of Deputies, JLC, and CST, said that they welcomed the start made by new Labour leader Keir Starmer to tackle antisemitism in the party, but said that “the scale of the challenge that lies ahead should not be underestimated.”
In response to the report, Starmer apologized for his party's failure to deal with antisemitism in its ranks.
He explained he accepted the report "in full" and would implement all its recommendations.
"It is a day of shame for the Labour Party. We have failed Jewish people... I am truly sorry for all the pain and grief that has been caused," said Starmer, who held a senior role under Corbyn's leadership.
"Never again will we fail to tackle antisemitism and never again will we lose your trust."
Corbyn took to Facebook in response to the report, claiming that while he did not fully agree with the report's findings, he trusts that "its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.”
He explained that “Anyone claiming there is no antisemitism in the Labour Party is wrong. Of course there is, as there is throughout society, and sometimes it is voiced by people who think of themselves as on the Left.
“Jewish members of our party and the wider community were right to expect us to deal with it, and I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should."
He added, however, that "the scale of the problem [of antisemitism in the party] was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media."
Following his reaction and his subsequent failure to retract them, however, Corbyn was suspended by his party.
"In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation," The UK Labour Party said in a statement, according to Reuters.
"He has also had the whip removed from the Parliamentary Labour Party."
Aaron Reich and Reuters contributed to this report.