Campaign Against Antisemitism has today filed a disciplinary complaint against Jeremy Corbyn. The complaint was made in a letter to Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, for presentation to the Party’s National Executive Committee.
The allegation that Jews lie and deceive in order to further hidden agendas is an age-old antisemitic trope. It has now been manifestly deployed by Mr Corbyn in his leadership campaign video. It falls under the definition of antisemitism used by decent nations around the world — including our own — by “making mendacious…allegations about Jews”.
Although Mr Corbyn and his allies have a long history of association with antisemites, it was not until April 5th this year that he crossed the line and made an antisemitic statement. At that point, when his brother, Piers Corbyn, characterised the antisemitic abuse complained of by Jewish MP Louise Ellman as a politically motivated “absurd” attack on his brother, Jeremy Corbyn agreed, saying his brother “was not wrong”. This, at a time when Campaign Against Antisemitism, the Chief Rabbi and others concerned with the welfare of British Jews had all called for firm action to excise the antisemitism in Labour’s ranks.
What ensued over the following months was an institutionalising of the trope by senior Party figures under Mr Corbyn’s leadership. On May 1st, Diane Abbott MP stated on the Andrew Marr Show that any accusations of antisemitism in Labour were “a smear”, while Len McCluskey declared that the row had been “got up” by Mr Corbyn’s enemies. Ken Livingstone and Rupa Huq MP averred. The message was heeded: in a YouGov Poll a few days later, 49% of Labour members were in agreement.
On the 30th of June, 2016 Ruth Smeeth MP suffered antisemitic abuse at the launch of Baroness Chakrabarti’s whitewash report into antisemitism in the Party. Mr Corbyn was unmoved, failed to intervene and moreover was filmed talking in very familiar terms with the perpetrator after the incident. Again, the signal sent to the public was clear; Ms Smeeth subsequently received 20,000 mostly antisemitic abusive messages in the next twenty-four hours, including death threats. She now requires police protection and a bodyguard to attend the Labour Party conference.
The recent leadership hustings were characterised by Mr Corbyn’s supporters’ groans of ennui whenever Owen Smith raised the subject of antisemitism. Any person truly opposed to racism would have taken action to counter this chilling normalisation of antisemitism by discrediting its victims, but instead Mr Corbyn has compounded it.
This week, Mr Corbyn’s personal Facebook and Twitter accounts released a video featuring supporters declaring they were “tired of hearing” about antisemitism, characterising the Jewish community’s complaints as ‘rubbish’ — physically and metaphorically — to be tossed onto the floor. In an admission of guilt, the video has been withdrawn, but by then it had been viewed and endorsed over 200,000 times, and there has been no rebuttal by Mr Corbyn.
As a result of these accumulated acts committed by Mr Corbyn himself or under his direct leadership, Campaign Against Antisemitism has today filed a complaint with the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee. We charge that Mr Corbyn has breached the Party’s Conditions of Membership as set out in Chapter 2, Clause I (8) of the Party’s Rule Book by committing acts grossly detrimental to the Party in characterising Jewish people as dissembling and dishonest in their reporting of antisemitism, and by using the influence and prestige of his office to disseminate and normalise that lie, contrary to Chapter I, Clause IV (2) (B) of the Party’s Constitutional Rules.
Our system of justice depends on our institutions having adequate rules, which must be enforced, and seen to be enforced. Under Mr Corbyn, the Labour Party that was once a pioneer in the fight against racism, has made itself deaf to Jews.
Labour’s institutions have failed to act decisively against Sir Gerald Kaufman MP, Ken Livingstone and countless others. It is now high time that the Party acted to preserve its values, and to defend the much-abused Jewish community against the antisemitic lie promoted by Mr Corbyn that our complaints of antisemitism are hollow and motivated by hidden agendas.