An overwhelming majority of Labour members believe that the problem of antisemitism in the Party is either exaggerated or simply non-existent, according to a new poll.
The survey, conducted by YouGov for The Mail on Sunday, showed that 53 percent of Labour members believe that the problem of antisemitism in the Party has been exaggerated and 25 percent believe that there is no such problem at all – a total of 78 percent.
However, the Party remains beset with allegations of anti-Jewish racism.
Ian Murray, one of the candidates for the position of deputy leader, sent out a campaign email to all Labour members in which he noted his endorsement from the Party’s Jewish affiliate and stated his intention to “tackle the stain of antisemitism in our Party.”
In reply he received numerous abusive messages, including claims that “the Jews thought they owned the Labour Party”; that Mr Murray is a “Mossad agent”; that he is associating himself with “a bunch of war criminals and latter-day Nazis who are committing genocide”; that Labour’s Jewish affiliate is “a political racist movement” which “prioritise[s] their race or religion ahead the Labour Party”; that Mr Murray’s “true loyalties lie…firmly in the CIA-Mossad HQ in Tel Aviv”; that antisemitism was being weaponised; that Mr Murray was being “manipulated by a biased media, in the control of an elitist group whose vested interest is to maintain the status quo and their financial interests and neuter Labour opposition”; that “the antisemitism charge [against Labour] is a smokescreen to validate the Israeli Government’s [policies]”; and that Mr Murray “should be protecting the majority of our millions of citizens not just a few thousand of a small minority.”
Mr Murray has reportedly forwarded the abusive messages to the Labour Party.
A Facebook group supporting another candidate for deputy leader, called “Jeremy Corbyn Group supports Richard Burgon for Deputy Leader”, which has almost 23,000 members, is replete with antisemitic material, as activist Gillian Lazarus has uncovered.
In comments on a news article about Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’ speech to the American political organisation, AIPAC, one member commented: “the chief rabbit [sic] needs to sod off to the vile apartheid state and take [Sir Keir] Starmer with him.” Others asserted that the Chief Rabbi is politically conservative, implying that his courageous intervention during the General Election was motivated by partisan concerns; as one commenter put it: “he’s a lying partisan duplicitous b******.” One member simply called him a “traitor”, while another called the Chief Rabbi a “killer of children” in a comment reminiscent of the medieval blood libel against the Jews. The comments go on and on holding the Chief Rabbi accountable for supposed policies of the Israeli Government.
Mr Burgon does not have any administrative involvement in the Facebook group, although he also has his own very troubling record in his relationship with the Jewish community.
Another Facebook group – that of the antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, Jewish Voice for Labour – contained a comment suggesting that Labour leadership hopeful Sir Keir Starmer has “admitted he toasts the President of Israel every Friday evening” and therefore “I think we know where his money is coming from.”
Meanwhile, a Labour candidate for the Almondbury ward of Kirklees local council in the May local elections has reportedly been suspended by the Party after being accused of sending antisemitic tweets.
In tweets over the past two years, Paul Connolly apparently made reference to “Jewish hate mongers” and bribes from “the Israeli lobby”, but despite being reported to the Party a year ago has only now been suspended pending investigation.
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.