A vote for Labour on December 12 is a vote for an institutionally anti-Semitic party led by an anti-Semite. This has been the view of many of us for a long time, but there is no room left for doubt after the leak of the Jewish Labour Movement’s (JLM) submission to an investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The document provides a catalogue of bigotry in Labour, of which the following are just a few examples. Verbal abuse: one witness recalls being called “a Tory Jew”, being told that “Hitler was right” and threatened with physical violence. Online abuse: Ruth Smeeth MP was the subject of over 25,000 anti-Semitic posts, including epithets such as “traitor” and “CIA/MI5/Mossad informant”. Exclusion of Jewish members from party activity: it is claimed that when 25 ultra-Orthodox Jews tried to join the party in South Tottenham, the constituency’s membership secretary objected and required a visit to their homes.
The JLM concludes that Labour “is no longer a safe space for Jewish people” – and that the problem starts at the top.
If the JLM is right, then Jeremy Corbyn has lied on two critical points. First, he has stated that “Where anyone has committed any anti-Semitic acts or made any anti-Semitic statements”, they have been investigated, expelled or suspended: but JLM says that Labour is not counting the cases sitting in its in-tray, which could run into the hundreds.
Second, Mr Corbyn has insisted that investigations are conducted independently of the leadership. The JLM, however, claims that complaints were uploaded on to USB sticks for employees in the leader’s office to examine and that it was a “frequent occurrence” that employees would be copied in on complaints and would make suggestions regarding them.
One staffer said that senior members of Mr Corbyn’s team described calls for action in the Ken Livingstone case as a “Jewish conspiracy.” It is claimed that party officials investigating anti-Semitism felt pressured to “take a lenient” approach out of recognition that the leader and some of his colleagues were “guilty of similar behaviour”.