Judith Ornstein
Passionately moderate

From here to eternity – Labour’s unresolved antisemitism

An Israeli MP is ‘the type of scum all over the world that should be classed as sub-human and put to sleep like the rabid dogs they are”.

“The zionists (sic) are powerful and have their tentacles all over the world especially in Britain”

Comments from two people, names redacted, on Labour Party Forum Facebook group, 3/1/2018.

This is the third biggest Labour Internet forum and it’s moderated by Labour members.(1)  Just some  examples of antisemitism happening right now.

Every day brings new and officially unchecked Jew hatred from members of the Labour Party. In this article I gather some events since May 2015 as evidence that Corbyn’s promises to tackle antisemitism in the Labour Party are a sham.

You’ll remember all these events but I hope my summary and analysis will be useful documentation for those of us faced by the chorus of antis who have closed their minds to any proof they are given.

Back in December 2016 Labour List reported on a special meeting of Labour’s National Executive Council Equalities Committee (2) about how to tackle antisemitism. Promises  were made from high ranking Labour members including Jeremy Corbyn who said that Labour will not tolerate racism in any form inside or outside the Labour Party.

Why  was this meeting not held until six months after publication of the June 2016 Chakrabarti Inquiry into Antisemitism and other forms of Racism?

And what has (not) happened since?

I have dealt in depth with the Inquiry’s shortcomings in a film and book, The Whitewashed Project (3). 

The Inquiry was supposed to tackle the growing and unchecked foregrounding of antisemitism in the Labour Party after Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader in September 2015.

Here is part of the official account of the meeting (my numbers):

“Discussions will continue about possible changes to complaints and disciplinary processes, but the following positive changes were agreed and noted:

* 1. Labour has adopted many of the recommendations in Baroness Chakrabarti’s report and is working to adopt them through rules and guidance.

* 2. A new disputes and disciplinary procedure fit for a modern party of more than half a million members will be drawn up.

* 3. Labour will have a new structure for overseeing complaints and safeguarding and will dedicate more resources to ensure complaints can be processed more quickly.

* 4. All complaints will be addressed to one place, making reporting complaints or abuses easier, clearer and more efficient and accessible.

* 5. Labour will invest more in our governance and legal processes and dedicate more resources to these functions.

* 6. The NEC organisational committee will review and update relevant rules and processes, with a view to proposing changes at Labour party conference in 2017.”

Let’s take a closer look at these points. First of all note that evasive “discussions will continue’”. How long will discussions continue?

1. Contradicts itself. Either Labour has adopted recommendations or is working to adopt them. Which is it? Note the phrase “working to adopt them”. When a child is not achieving the minimum expected for their age, the kindly “working towards the level” is employed. Used here it is inappropriate and no excuse for protracted delay. Even  that ambiguous word ‘many’ proves that recommendations have not been adopted. How long will it take?

2. How long does it take to draw up an effective disputes and disciplinary procedure? Using  ‘will be drawn up’ is procrastination. The language, as with point one, unsuccessfully tries to let them off the hook.  Since this meeting there has been no evidence of effective action.

3. Repeats promises in two. There is evidence that thousands of reports of online antisemitism were stacked up at Labour Compliance then; it’s the same now. Compliance is good but understaffed and underfunded.  An army is needed to deal with the backlog.

4. Complaints may now be addressed to one place by witnesses to, and victims of, antisemitism, But there is evidence that some of the few who are suspended are readmitted quietly by their own constituency Labour Parties. Labour should immediately put a stop to these back door readmissions. How long will this take?

5. See my point 3. If sufficient resources have been invested why is compliance still mired in unread evidence of online antisemitism?

6. We edge forwards: “a view to proposing changes at the Labour Party Conference in 2017.”

Once again the language obfuscates; it demonstrates no will to take action. If Corbyn had ever meant, or indeed means, business this December 2016 meeting should have set a timescale with the object of proving at the  September 2017 Labour Party Conference that a proper start had  been made to root out antisemitism.

The same absence of time scale applies to the Chakrabarti Inquiry.
How long will it take?

What happened  at the Labour Party conference, September 2017

Conference hosted a fringe group, Jewish Voice for Labour, who, to an ovation, called for the expulsion of two  long established and highly respected groups, Jewish Labour Movement, and Labour Friends of Israel.

JVL is a sub group amongst anti Zionist Jews. It has a minuscule but noisy following among British Jews, with numbers made up by mates of varied affiliations who falsely allege that this real antisemitism is a smear directed at Corbyn. Amongst the latter is Len McCluskey, chairman of Unite, the largest British Trade Union, who asserted that claims of antisemitism “are mood music ..created …to undermine Jeremy Corbyn” (Independent 27/9/17).

Since Conference JVL has splintered even further, so it’s impossible to tell who they represent, other than themselves.

Also at Conference  was Miko Peled who said: “This is about free speech, the freedom to criticise and to discuss every issue, whether it’s the Holocaust: yes or no, Palestine, the liberation, the whole spectrum. There should be no limits on the discussion.” (Guardian 26/9/17)

Jeremy Corbyn claimed he was too busy speech writing to address a JLM meeting but was subsequently seen out and about. Speaking to Channel 4 News during Conference Corbyn said:

‘Nobody should be abused, whoever they are. We have just passed a motion on racism and antisemitism, which is comprehensive and inclusive and is supported by all wings of the party and unanimously agreed by our national executive.

“Anyone using antisemitic language, anyone using any form of racist language, is completely at odds with the beliefs of this party.”’

  • Remember the quotes  at the beginning? “Scum…all over the world…subhuman.” “zionists..tentacles …especially in Britain”. They were written on The Labour Party Forum a few days ago. That’s four months after Corbyn’s September 2017   promise;  over a year after a similar promise made at the December 2016 Nec meeting; and eighteen months after the June 2016 Chakrabarti Inquiry, itself a belated response to a build up of antisemitism. 

Some apparently tough new rule changes were passed at Conference. Once again, there’s very little evidence that these have been acted upon where Jews who identify as Zionists are concerned.

It’s all a sop. How do Corbyn’s words, and the apparent rule change, square with events at Conference when loyal Jewish Labour members were made unwelcome. How do they square with what’s going on right now?

How long before words turn into actions?

Let’s return to the Chakrabarti Inquiry. There are a couple of good recommendations in what many perceive to be a subjective essay; the strongest is that no one who draws an analogy between Nazis, Zionists and Jews has a place in the Labour Party. In other words such a person should be expelled.

In April 2017, between the two fine sets of words from Corbyn, we witnessed another travesty. Ken Livingstone, retired Labour politician, ex Mayor of London, infamously persists in saying Hitler has ‘supported  Zionism’. For the second time he was suspended for a year and not expelled from Labour.

Now look back at the opening quotes again. They are far from unique.
How long?

What’s happening now?

One of the few expulsions from Labour has been George Galloway; when MP for Bradford West he called for the city to become an ‘Israel free Zone. There are now calls for him to be reinstated.

There is online antisemitism by Labour members every day. They are a minority but still in the party. They and some Labour MPs such as Paul Flynn continue to deny the antisemitism in the Labour Party.

There are good people in the Labour Party who maintain its ethical values. They monitor and report antisemitism. They are abused.
John Mann MP who stands up for Jews is inundated with antisemitic hate.  Other Labour MPs, including Joan Ryan, Louise Ellman, Thangam Debbonaire, Luciana Berger, Ian Austin and more, all courageously speak out against antisemitism and are likewise shamefully demonised. But their names are relatively few and they must feel lonely.

Did you note the date of that NEC meeting? It was 12th December 2016,  as everyone was preparing for the holidays. There’s a sense of shifting difficult stuff from one in tray to another, and subsequent inaction gives weight to this opinion.

Corbyn and co make vague promises about dealing with antisemitism but never set proper targets with time scales.

How long?

This blog is not aimed at many decent Labour people who fight this age old racism. It is clear that most Labour Party members are not antisemitic. However it’s also clear that through inaction, passivity and ignorance decent people are being outmanoeuvred by a minority of members who have no right to be in the party.

Their tactics are straight out of the extreme left, totalitarian and anti democratic rule book, and can be seen currently in action with well funded Momentum attempting to take over local councils. Momentum calls itself democratic, but so does Vladimir Putin. Momentum is not the only far left group within Labour.

This poison threatens every British citizen, and every British citizen needs to wake up.

How long oh Lord?“ (psalm 13)

(1) The quoted thread has now been taken down but there are screenshots and more  such evidence is available on the Facebook group Labour Against Antisemitism.

(2) https://labourlist.org/2016/12/tackling-anti-semitism-drumming-out-online-abuse-and-handling-complaints-alice-perrys-latest-nec-report/

(3)The Whitewashed Project www.whitewashed.co.uk

About the Author
Judith Ornstein is UK and Israel based. She is a passionate supporter of the arts, who combats the cultural boycott of Israel. Judith is the instigator of both the ‘Whitewashed’ and ‘Forced Out’ projects, books and films using primary evidence from witnesses to expose Labour's problems with Jews. Whitewashed book and film, and valuable links can be found at www.whitewashed.co.uk Forced Out Links film and book https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B082DJ1LHD/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Forced+Out+Labour+Antisemitism&qid=1575581887&sr=8-1 Companion film here: https://youtu.be/b4f_TexfjbI
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