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A day of shame: UK Labour leader responds to anti-semitism report

Update: Wow.


The leader of the UK Labour Party and the British Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, has said that the publication of a report into anti-semitism in the party is “a day of shame for the Labour Party”.

Starmer was speaking this morning after a report from Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission found that the Labour Party failed to tackle anti-jewish sentiment in its ranks, and that it broke the law by smearing those who tried to flag the problem – including, damningly, by using “anti-semitic tropes” against the complainants.

The report says:

Our investigation found that the Labour Party breached the Equality Act 2010 by committing unlawful harassment through the acts of its agents in two of the complaints we investigated. These included using antisemitic tropes and suggesting that complaints of antisemitism were fake or smears.

Throughout the period we investigated, there was political interference in the handling of antisemitism complaints – as part of a wider practice of LOTO involvement in disciplinary cases that were deemed ‘politically sensitive’, as well as a distinct practice in March–April 2018, when all antisemitism cases were referred to LOTO. Within the sample of 70 complaint files, we found 23 instances of political interference by LOTO staff and others…

The report also says that the Labour Party, through its agents, harassed those who complained about anti-Jewish bigotry in the party.

The issue of anti-semitism in Labour dogged the party through the years of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Corbyn, a life-long campaigner on the Palestinian issue, was said to have ignored the escalation of anti Israeli rhetoric into full blown anti-jewish bigotry. Today’s report is widely seen as confirmation of that criticism.

The present Labour Party leader has fully accepted the findings of the report:

The former Labour Party leader, Mr. Corbyn, has not accepted them fully:

“One anti-Semite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated.

Corbyn, however, now stands alone on this issue, with the Labour Party itself accepting his inaction on the issue of anti-semitism, and an independent UK watchdog now having found that not only did he tolerate anti-semitism, but that the party under his leadership broke the law in so doing, and harassed jewish people who complained.

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