Len McCluskey, the General Secretary of Unite, the largest trade union in the UK, has launched an outrageous attack on the Jewish community, accusing Jewish organisations of seeking a split in the Labour Party and of plotting to ensure that the Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis is “prolonged and intensified”.
Writing in the Huffington Post, Mr McCluskey, claimed that by continuing to resist antisemitism in the Labour Party, British Jews and non-Jews who stand with us, such as Labour MP Chuka Umunna, “risk polluting our politics to the detriment of all those involved and to our wider national life” and are “subordinating [antisemitism] to other agendas”.
Declaring that there is a “paucity of evidence” that Labour has become institutionally antisemitic, Mr McCluskey accused Jewish community organisations of presenting antisemitism in the Labour Party in a “wildly exaggerated” manner.
Listing a series of supposedly exemplary actions by Jeremy Corbyn to tackle antisemitism, Mr McCluskey then attacked the Jewish community by name, writing: “What is the response from the leading Jewish community organisations to [Mr Corbyn’s] record of reaching out, of understanding, and of action? Intransigent hostility and an utter refusal to engage in dialogue about building on what has been done and resolving outstanding difficulties.” He then accused Jewish newspapers of “a thoroughly irresponsible act of fear-mongering” for calling Labour under Mr Corbyn an “existential threat” to British Jewry, and then he even declared that Jewish figures were “trolling” Mr Corbyn.
Perhaps worst of all, he attacked the motives of the Jewish community, writing: “I am at a loss to understand the motives of the leadership of the Jewish community”.
He then called the Labour Party’s refusal to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism a “misunderstanding” and demanded that the Jewish community “put this row behind us”, before ending by branding Labour MPs who have stood up to antisemitism in the Party as secretly “embracing capitalism, the free market and the alliance with Trump’s America”.
Mr McCluskey has a track record of disgraceful interventions in the Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis. He used a BBC interview to call antisemitism “mood music” to “undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership” and claimed that those making allegations of antisemitism have been “playing games”. He has even claimed that media coverage of the allegations is a “right-wing” plot and rallied his supporters to mass-report a Twitter account that exposes antisemites in the Labour Party. Earlier this year, writing in The New Statesman, he launched an attack on those Labour MPs who fight antisemitism in the Party, claiming that they oppose Mr Corbyn on every point and merely use antisemitism as a tool, threatening them with the prospect of being “held to account”, having hinted at “mandatory reselection”.
Gideon Falter, Chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Len McCluskey must immediately resign. It is outrageous to attack the Jewish community for expressing our fears that Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite and that his Party is institutionally antisemitic. Which other minority would be set upon merely for voicing concern? Mr McCluskey’s utterly disgraceful interventions in Labour’s antisemitism crisis have each blamed hidden agendas for the problem and sought to minimise its scale. Mr Corbyn said that nobody should seek to doubt the motives of those who allege antisemitism in the Labour Party, and on that basis he should demand that Mr McCluskey be investigated by the Party immediately. Of course Mr Corbyn will not do that, and the Party will not investigate, which is one of the reasons why we have referred the Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.”