The report, which is titled ‘The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014 – 2019’ and has not been made public, says that its “findings prove the scale of the problem, and could help end the denialism amongst some part of the Party membership,” but insists that there was “no evidence” of antisemitism complaints being treated differently to other forms of complaint, or of “antisemitic intent” among current or former staff.
Rather, the report – which is apparently the product of a review of 10,000 separate emails and thousands of private WhatsApp communications between former senior party officials – concludes that there was a lack of “robust processes, systems, training, education and effective line management” and, most controversially, that there is “abundant evidence of a hyper-factional atmosphere prevailing in Party HQ” towards Mr Corbyn which “affected the expeditious and resolute handling of disciplinary complaints.”
The report reserves particular criticism for the former Party officials who turned whistleblowers in last year’s devastating Panorama expose of antisemitism in the Labour Party. Indeed the intent of the report was apparently to give the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) reason to “question the validity of the personal testimonies” provided by the whistleblowers.
The EHRC launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party on 28th May 2019 following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
However, Labour’s lawyers have reportedly advised the Party against submitting the document, and the Party, which has a new leader, is now insisting that it was never intended to be submitted.
The claims of factionalism within the Party’s HQ and the suggestion that antisemitism complaints were impeded by staffers’ motivation to undermine Mr Corbyn’s leadership have been denied by the former staffers and whistleblowers, who responded to similar defences by the Party during the Panorama program by suing Labour.
Campaign Against Antisemitism believes that the very existence of the report illustrates the lengths to which the Party’s apparatus under Mr Corbyn’s leadership went to try to deflect attention from the antisemitism crisis and exonerate itself, instead of actually addressing the crisis and expelling antisemites from the Party. While the report apparently concedes the scale of Labour antisemitism, nevertheless its effect is to deny the allegations by portraying them as a product of factionalism in the Party or a smear designed to damage the leadership.
In a statement, a spokesman for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “In the dying days of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party appears to have invested in a desperate last-ditch attempt to deflect and discredit allegations of antisemitism. Rather than properly dealing with cases of antisemitism and the culture of anti-Jewish racism that prevailed during Mr Corbyn’s tenure, the Party has instead busied itself trawling through 10,000 of its own officials’ e-mails and WhatsApp messages in an attempt to imagine a vast anti-Corbyn conspiracy and to continue its effort to smear whistleblowers.
“It is a disgrace that the 450,000-word report, which itself claims to ‘prove the scale’ of antisemitism in the Party and serves as an exhibit of the Party’s failure to address the crisis, is being kept secret. Sir Keir Starmer has the report and should ensure that it is immediately provided to us and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, so that it can be considered as part of the Commission’s statutory investigation in which we are 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.