Four Labour Party MPs – Grahame Morris, Nadia Whittome, John McDonnell and Lucy Powell – are now under pressure in relation to antisemitism.
The Mail on Sunday revealed that the Labour MP Grahame Morris is the director of the controversial “Palestine Deep Dive” company. Research by Labour Against Antisemitism uncovered Mr Morris’ association with the company, of which he is the founding director. The MP reportedly admitted being a director of the purportedly educational organisation and that he had failed to declare this directorship to Parliament.
The company’s website has previously published an article claiming that “Israel’s racism” has “let loose the pogroms so reminiscent of Czarist times and Kristallnacht in Germany, 1938.” According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of antisemitism.
The website has also attacked BBC’s Panorama for contributing to a “smear campaign” against Labour, due to its investigation into antisemitism in the Party. The website reportedly apologised for this latter article by the controversial musician and activist, Roger Waters, last month. Mr Waters has made other outrageous claims on the website as well.
The website has interviewed the activist and comedian, Alexei Sayle, who has claimed that allegations of antisemitism “amongst supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are a complete fabrication.” Palestine Deep Dive has also reportedly platformed the controversial figure Tariq Ali, who has previously tried to link Israel to the racist killing of George Floyd – a trope for which Rebecca Long Bailey was fired from the Shadow Cabinet – among other inflammatory claims.
Grahame Morris is believed to be the only sitting MP in the entire House of Commons not to have endorsed the International Definition of Antisemitism. In 2012, he himself apparently tweeted: “World’s richest Jacob Rothschild, John Paulson & George Soros Are All Betting That Financial Disaster is Coming.”
Mr Morris reportedly said that, although he is a director of the company, he has “no involvement in the editorial decisions” of the website, and he issued an apology for failing to register his directorship with the House of Commons.
A spokesperson for the company reportedly said that the website “has not knowingly published material that may be considered antisemitic, nor has it been challenged as such. If this would ever be the case, it would be removed.”
Meanwhile, former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP and fellow Socialist Campaign Group member Nadia Whittome MP both reportedly shared a platform with expelled Labour member and outspoken filmmaker Ken Loach. Sir Keir Starmer pledged during his leadership campaign that any Labour member who shares a platform with a member expelled in relation to antisemitism would be disciplined, but he has consistently failed to fulfil this promise.
Reports have also emerged that Lucy Powell MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has been campaigning with Cllr. Majid Dar, a Labour councillor in Manchester who was suspended following allegations of antisemitism. Cllr Dar’s sister, Yasmine Dar, is an ally of Jeremy Corbyn and served as the head of Labour’s disputes panel. She is infamous for claiming that the Party did not have a problem of institutional antisemitism even as her brother was suspended over antisemitism allegations.
Scandals relating to antisemitism continue to rock the Labour Party at other levels as well. For example, a Labour councillor in West Lancashire, Ron Cooper, has tweeted: “If Corbyn was Labour Leader again then hundreds of thousands of members would rejoin the Party. @Keir_Starmer Stands for nothing #Purge of socialists and following commands from Israel.” Cllr. Cooper was swiftly suspended from the Party pending an investigation, and currently sits as an independent councillor, the whip having been withdrawn.
There are also unverified reports that Maureen Madden, the Chair of the North Tyneside Constituency Labour Party, has been expelled from the Labour Party. She has reportedly shared Rothschild conspiracy theories in the past.
Furthermore, Jewish Voice for Labour, the antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, has tweeted in response to verified reports of Chinese espionage in Parliament: “Chinese interference in Parliament is unacceptsble [sic] and the security services were correct to draw attention to it. When are they going to turn their attention to the widespread Israeli Parliamentary interference #LFI #CFI #LDFI.” Claims that the Jewish state or lobbyists on its behalf wield excessive power in foreign nations is a common trope.
Joe Glasman, Head of Political and Government Investigations at Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Sir Keir Starmer’s failure to fulfil his pledge to discipline MPs and others who share platforms with expelled members continues to haunt him. He tells non-Jewish audiences that he has closed the door on antisemitism in his Party – while whispering to Jewish audiences that there is still more to do – but his own MPs and officeholders continue to push the door wide open. With the new disciplinary system yet to be tested, Labour cannot be said to have gotten to grip with its scandal of institutional racism against Jews.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has lodged a complaint against Jeremy 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.
The Labour Party was found by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (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.