The outspoken activist Ghada Karmi has reportedly accused Sir Keir Starmer of “weaponising antisemitism”.
Dr Karmi is a former medical doctor and now a Research Fellow at the University of Exeter. She is a perpetual presence on the anti-Israel lecturing circuit in Britain and has a history of making antisemitic statements.
She was the keynote speaker at a meeting last Thursday of the Hackney North Labour Party and accused Sir Keir of using the “label of antisemitism as a weapon”. She further described allegations of antisemitism as a “smear accusation” which was being used as a “weapon” to suspend and expel members of the Labour Party.
The chair of the meeting, Sue Millman, reportedly cut Dr Karmi’s inflammatory address short, saying: “I know and respect your academic credentials, but as you know there are many sensitive issues within the Labour Party at this time. Some of your remarks have been extremely controversial. We have been very careful within this party, that we don’t allow ourselves to become riven over this matter. We have many, many Jewish members of all persuasions. Specifically, because it wasn’t the sort of talk we were expecting we need to draw it to a conclusion now. I really feel we can’t continue.”
Dr Karmi reportedly insisted that those who criticised Israel became “the victims of what I can only call a witch-hunt”, an example of the antisemitic ‘Livingstone Formulation’, by which allegations of antisemitism are dismissed as malevolent and baseless attempts to silence criticism of Israel.
In its report on Labour antisemitism, the Equality of Human Rights Commission (EHRC) determined that such denials of antisemitism were part of the unlawful victimisation of Jewish people by the Labour Party. The report following a statutory investigation by the EHRC in which we were the complainant.
Dr Karmi challenged the International Definition of Antisemitism in her speech and also made inflammatory remarks about Israel.
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.