Following the revelation that the Labour Party spent the last month of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership conducting a full-scale review into how the Party handled antisemitism complaints during his tenure, an unredacted version of the mammoth internal report has been leaked, putting Jewish complainants and victims mentioned in the report at risk.
Although it is believed that Labour’s General Secretary, Jennie Formby, originally commissioned the report, the source of the leak is not known, and Labour’s new Leader Sir Keir Starmer and Deputy Leader Angela Rayner have launched an investigation.
Among those who disseminated the unredacted 860-page report is the Labour MP, Corbyn ally and member of Sir Keir Starmer’s new Shadow Cabinet, Lloyd Russell-Moyle. Mr Russell-Moyle did so by reposting the report in a closed Facebook group which apparently includes as members numerous individuals who have been embroiled in Labour antisemitism controversies of their own (and in some cases have been suspended or expelled from the Party), such as Amanda Bishop, Daniel Harris, Melanie Melvin and Anne Mitchell. Mr Russell-Moyle defended his dissemination of the unredacted report, saying that those focusing on the resulting data breach (rather than the alleged factionalism that the report claims to have uncovered) were “missing the point”, but he has since apologised for reposting the unredacted report.
Lord McNicol, who was Ms Formby’s predecessor as General-Secretary of the Labour Party and is mentioned repeatedly in the report, has resigned from the Lord’s Opposition frontbench while the investigation into the leak of the report is carried out.
With regard to antisemitism, the report, which is titled ‘The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014 – 2019’, says that its “findings prove the scale of the problem, and could help end the denialism amongst some part of the Party membership.” However, some, such as the disgraced provocateur George Galloway (who lost his deposit in the last General Election), have predictably and erroneously claimed that the report demonstrates that Labour’s institutional antisemitism is an “internally manufactured lie”.
John McDonnell, the former Shadow Chancellor and close Corbyn ally, has indulged similar sentiments, implying that a “culture” of factionalism in Labour Party Headquarters supposedly hindered investigations into antisemitism by staff motivated by opposition to Mr Corbyn and that that would be to blame in the event of an adverse finding by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC): “I think the truth has got to come out…if that means the EHRC comes to a finding saying that the Labour Party is institutionally antisemitic, well, so be it.”
Mr McDonnell was referring to the full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party that was launched by the EHRC on 28th May 2019 following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
The real effect of the unauthorised release of the unredacted report, however, is the threat that it poses to the Jewish complainants, victims and officials who are not only mentioned by name in the report but whose religion and ethnicity is also highlighted therein. It is understood that some of these names are now being listed on far-left and far-right websites and that threats have been made. Campaign Against Antisemitism is offering assistance to those who wish to take action or report the matter to the police. Reports have been made and it is understood that Mark Lewis, the esteemed lawyer and honorary patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism, is representing some of the victims.
Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “This internal report is a desperate attempt by the Labour Party in the dying days of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership to deflect and discredit allegations of antisemitism instead of properly dealing with them. However, the Corbyn era’s toxic mix of anti-Jewish hatred and intense factionalism appears to have put Jews in danger once more due to the leaking of the unredacted report that not only names Jewish complainants, victims and officials, but even highlights their religious and ethnic identities, resulting in online threats and abuse from the far-left and far-right. The Labour Party must disclose how the unredacted report was leaked and the authorities must investigate the potential data breach and threats. Campaign Against Antisemitism has been contacted by some of those affected and has offered assistance.”
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.