In an interview at the Cambridge Union, when asked about Luciana Berger being “hounded out” of the Labour Party due to antisemitism, he insisted that “Luciana was not hounded out of the Party; she unfortunately decided to resign from the Party”. Ms Berger was among a number of MPs who quit the Labour Party in protest at its institutional antisemitism.
Private WhatsApp messages have previously been reported on indicating that Ms Berger and others may have even been deliberately hounded out of the Party by senior officials.
Though pushed on how he could reconcile his call for a “kindler, gentler politics” with the report of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) finding that the Labour Party had committed unlawful acts of victimisation of Jewish people, Mr Corbyn reverted to his familiar claims that he improved the processes in the Party and condemned antisemitism as well as “any racism, Islamophobia, far-right racism”. His comments appeared to confirm that he continues not to grasp the phenomenon of far-left antisemitism.
Campaign Against Antisemitism was the complainant in the EHRC’s investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party.
Mr Corbyn had little of comfort to say even to his interviewer, the President of the Cambridge Union, who recounted his own experiences as a Jewish Labour member since 2016.
Mr Corbyn disclosed that he speaks to a range of Jewish people in his constituency, including “both those that would be followers of roughly the position of the Board of Deputies, those that would be followers of the Jewish Socialist group, Jewish Voice for Labour” and the Haredi community. Jewish Voice for Labour is an antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation whose chair has admitted was founded in order “to tackle allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party”. To suggest that this fringe group is on a par with mainstream Jewish communal organisations – a view that Mr Corbyn held throughout his term as leader – is part of the problem.
Mr Corbyn also noted that he commissioned the Pears Institute for Antisemitism at Birkbeck to prepare resources for antisemitism training in the Labour Party, which was an attempt to displace the training offered by Labour’s Jewish affiliate in favour of an institute directed by an academic opposed, like Mr Corbyn, to the International Definition of Antisemitism. Labour’s Jewish affiliate refused Labour’s request to adapt their sessions to fit with this new course, suggesting that it would make them little more than “useful idiots.” The Pears Foundation recently withdrew its name from the Institute.
Mr Corbyn also defended his association with the disgraced Rev. Stephen Sizer, on the basis that Rev. Sizer’s various inflammatory comments views were expressed later on, as well as his invitation to the controversial Sheikh Raed Salah.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has previously lodged a complaint against Mr Corbyn, holding him responsible for conduct that is prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Labour Party, as the Leader during the period of the EHRC’s shameful findings. Given the serious detriment that this conduct has caused, we are seeking Mr Corbyn’s immediate resuspension and, if the complaint is upheld, we will be requesting his expulsion. On the day of the publication of the EHRC’s report, we also submitted a major complaint against Mr Corbyn and other sitting MPs. These complaints are yet to be acknowledged by the Party, and they must be investigated by an independent disciplinary process that the EHRC has demanded and Sir Keir has promised but has yet to introduce.
Mr Corbyn was suspended by the Labour Party following his disgraceful comments on the publication of the report into Labour antisemitism by the EHRC and a complaint by Campaign Against Antisemitism. He was then rapidly and controversially readmitted to the Party but the whip has not been restored to him, leaving him as an Independent MP outside of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
Now that Mr Corbyn has again downplayed antisemitism in the Party, he must be expelled, as per Sir Keir Starmer’s declaration that anyone who thinks that accusations of antisemitism in the Labour Party are “exaggerated or a factional attack…are part of the problem” and “should be nowhere near the Labour Party”.
Joe Glasman, Head of Political Investigations at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Jeremy Corbyn remains defiant and unrepentant when it comes to the institutional antisemitism of the Labour Party under his watch and his own antisemitism. Despite the findings of the EHRC, and despite the complaints made by us against him, and despite his brief suspension from the Party and ongoing suspension from the Parliamentary Labour Party, he continues to refuse to accept the scale of the problem or his responsibility for it. Mr Corbyn has not learned a thing.
“Given that Sir Keir Starmer has insisted that anyone who holds views such as these ‘should be nowhere near the Labour Party’, it is time for Mr Corbyn to go. We have previously called for Mr Corbyn to be expelled by the Labour Party. We reiterate that call today.”
The Labour Party was found by the EHRC to have engaged in unlawful discrimination and harassment of Jews. The report followed the EHRC’s investigation of the Labour Party in which Campaign Against Antisemitism was the complainant, submitting hundreds of pages of evidence and legal argument. Sir Keir Starmer called the publication of the report a “day of shame” for the Labour Party.
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.