Reaction to the Chakrabarti report has been mixed. No eight-week process could ever satisfy a community encompassing such a range of opinions as ours. Some responded by providing Talmudic style analysis of the report. Others expressed disappointment that the report did not address issues around Israel (never part of the remit). The mishandling of the launch and unforgiveable baiting of Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth framed the report in a way that I am sure the authors never anticipated.
The circumstances of the launch risk obscuring some important findings. The clarity around the unacceptability of using Zionism as a form of abuse is seminal. This has the potential to detoxify the Jewish national liberation movement on the left – the very arena where it has come under most sustained attack. It also establishes firm boundaries on use of Holocaust language and imagery.
Many of our members are underwhelmed and disappointed that recommendations on process are are not stronger. JLM will monitor implementation of these very closely. We worked hard to contribute to the report and we will proactive in seeing it delivers as much progress as possible.
Our student members hoped the report would include as yet unpublished material from Baroness Royall’s earlier investigation. They feel let down that matters relating to Oxford Labour Club remain unresolved.
However, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Debate around the report will continue. But will Ken Livingstone have a future in the post-Chakrabarti Labour Party? Will Tony Greenstein (suspended proponent of antisemitic anti-Zionism) be expelled? Will the case of Naz Shah MP – who apologised for her conduct and has since engaged constructively with the community be a template for future similar cases? Outcomes of these and other future cases will be the litmus test of Chakrabarti’s legacy. Yesterday’s NEC decision to escalate the case against Livingstone means we have an early opportunity to find out.