Labour Party MP Richard Burgon and prominent member and former candidate Salma Yaqoob are set to share a platform with the antisemitic former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at a demonstration in Bradford this evening.
Mr Burgon, the former Shadow Justice Secretary and MP for Leeds East, is best known for having stated that “Zionism is the enemy of peace” and then lied about having done so. He has also participated in rallies with suspended Labour activists without sanction. Mr Burgon is the subject of a complaint to the Labour Party by Campaign Against Antisemitism.
Ms Yaqoob, the former Respect Party leader, is a relatively recent member of the Labour Party who unsuccessfully ran for Mayor of the West Midlands this year, and has her own deeply troubling record in relation to the Jewish community. In a 2013 tweet that she has since deleted, Ms Yaqoob stated: “Iceland arrests 10 Rothschild bankers…wow”, and linked to an article making this false claim and featuring a prominent image of the banker and philanthropist Lord Jacob Rothschild. The article linked in turn to a longer piece on the “Political Vel Craft” website, which is known for disseminating extreme conspiracy theories.
Also scheduled to appear at the event is the former Liberal Democrat MP David Ward, who has had a number of antisemitism-related incidents, one of which involved him tweeting: “#Auschwitz happened and never can be compared but would be betrayal of its victims to use it to protect #Israel Govt from condemnation”. Mr Ward lost his council seat in this year’s local elections, running as an Independent after being expelled by the Liberal Democrats in 2017 for standing against the Party in an election, having previously been disciplined for comments about Jews, the Holocaust and Israel. He recently appeared at another anti-Israel rally in Bradford, along with the disgraced Labour MP Naz Shah, where calls were made to “lift the curse of the Jews off the Muslims in Palestine!”
Lindsey German, also billed to speak, is a controversial activist who has a history of denying antisemitism in the Labour Party and who backed the disgraced former Labour MP, Chris Williamson. She is a convener of the dubious group, Stop The War Coalition, which has appeared in the past to advocate war against Israel and whose marches routinely feature antisemitic tropes.
Mr Corbyn was suspended by the Labour Party following his disgraceful comments on the publication of the report into Labour antisemitism by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (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.
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 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.