After Campaign Against Antisemitism reported on the numerous investigations, resignations and suspensions of Labour councillors on Sandwell Council – including a Leader and the current Interim Leader – a concerned member of the public has submitted further evidence of antisemitism from members of the Council.
So far, the Leader of the Council, Cllr Yvonne Davies, resigned from Labour in the midst of an antisemitism controversy; Cllr Joanne Hadley, Cllr Ian Jones and Cllr Mohammed Yaseen Hussain have been suspended from the Labour Party for reasons unknown; the interim Leader, Cllr Maria Crompton, and Cllr Bob Piper are understood to be under investigation, although reasons have not been provided; and Cllr John Edwards has also been revealed to have shared problematic social media content, and it is not clear if any action has been taken.
The new evidence, some of which has also been unearthed by Campaign Against Antisemitism, concerns two of the councillors on the above list and one further councillor, and indicates that the problems on Sandwell Council and in the local Labour Party are even worse than previously reported.
Cllr Bob Piper, in 2016, defended the disgraced former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, and insisted that “Hitler’s pact with the Zionists is historical fact, not a matter of opinion.” He also shared a post on Israel in 2014 that said: “And, appallingly (and promiscuously), Israel deploys, yet abuses, the suffering and memory of Holocaust victims to confer on itself a spurious moral supremacy, and to justify these shameful inhumanities on others.”
Cllr John Edwards repeatedly opposed the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by the Labour Party; defended Jeremy Corbyn’s and the Party’s records on antisemitism; defended the disgraced then-Labour MP Chris Williamson; welcomed Labour’s absurd and abortive antisemitism investigation into then-MP Ian Austin; criticised then-Deputy Leader Tom Watson for speaking out against antisemitism; supported those who tried to deselect the Jewish woman MP, Luciana Berger; and boosted Jewish Voice for Labour, an antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, even facilitating the membership in that group of the disgraced journalist, Mira Bar-Hillel. As we have previously reported, he also implied comparisons of Israeli policy to the Nazis in breach of the Definition by saying to then-Prime Minister David Cameron that “when you leave Auschwitz David Cameron go to Gaza”.
Cllr Laura Rollins sent several tweets in 2013 referencing “rich Jewish boys”, a “rich Jewish trendsetter” and “rich Jewish friends”. Cllr Rollins deleted those tweets but they were caught by other Twitter users, including the disgusted local MP.
Campaign Against Antisemitism recently published its first Audit of Local Authorities, documenting the campaign for widespread adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by local authorities. Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has not adopted the Definition, and we call on it urgently to do so and to incorporate the Definition into its codes of conduct for councillors and staff, so that the Council, as well as the Labour Party, can hold councillors to account when they promote antisemitic discourse.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “These new revelations, together with what we already know, indicate that there is an endemic problem in Sandwell’s Labour Party. Labour must consider opening a full investigation into Sandwell’s Labour Party, the reasons for the various suspensions and investigations (and any outcomes) must be publicised, and Sandwell Council itself must itself take action if it to show its opposition to racism. In particular, the Council must adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism and incorporate it into its codes of conduct for councillors and staff.”
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In the first release of its Antisemitism in Political Parties research, Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that Labour Party candidates for Parliament in the 2019 general election accounted for 82 percent of all incidents of antisemitic discourse by parliamentary candidates.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.