Since we first exposed Jeremy Corbyn’s past, we have been at the forefront of putting antisemitism in the Labour Party under the spotlight and holding the antisemites to account.
We have heard from so many British Jews that as voting took place on Thursday, they felt a knot in their stomachs, wondering whether their countrymen were about to elect Mr Corbyn, who is an antisemite, as their Prime Minister. Many were doubting their future in this country; that is how high the stakes were.
Since 2015, Campaign Against Antisemitism has led the fight to bring antisemitism in the Labour Party to light and ensure that the media covered it. We made the referral and legal representation that caused the Equality and Human Rights Commission to open a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party, in which we are the complainant. We have also secured the only arrests of Labour activists over antisemitism. To this day, we remain the only major organisation to call Mr Corbyn an antisemite, and we called the Labour Party institutionally antisemitic years before anybody else. Some have vilified us and accused us of scaremongering, but others have proved to be invaluable allies.
After years of exposing antisemitism in politics, in just the past two weeks Campaign Against Antisemitism published a detailed study with King’s College London exposing the extent of antisemitic views on the far-left and amongst Mr Corbyn’s strongest supporters, released detailed case files on antisemitic parliamentary candidates across all political parties, including Mr Corbyn himself, and gathered 3,200 Jews and non-Jews alike in Parliament Square at our star-studded #TogetherAgainstAntisemitism rally to stand with British Jews.
While many in the Jewish community have doubted that the British public cared about antisemitism, Campaign Against Antisemitism has for some time seen indications that British people are deeply disgusted by Jew-hatred. Polling data suggests that antisemitism was a significant factor in the resounding defeat of the Labour Party.
However, now is not the time to rest on our laurels.
Antisemitism in politics is not vanquished. Antisemitism on campuses remains commonplace. Incitement against Jews online and antisemitic intimidation and violence on the streets are growing. In 2020, Campaign Against Antisemitism will focus on three areas.
The first area is antisemitism in politics. The Labour Party will be changing its leadership, but the Party itself remains institutionally antisemitic and many of those whose failures led to the antisemitism crisis under Jeremy Corbyn will still hold positions of power. Now is the time for Campaign Against Antisemitism to redouble its efforts to tackle antisemitism in politics, including other political parties which are not without their problems, albeit not on the scale of Labour’s crisis. Campaign Against Antisemitism’s highly-experienced Political and Government Investigations Unit will be continuing its work to expose, document and highlight antisemitism in political parties. We will also continue in our role as complainant in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party, and to ensure that antisemitic political activists are prosecuted.
The second area is antisemitism on campus. Antisemitism at universities has long been a major focus for Campaign Against Antisemitism, however in the coming year we will elevate it to one of our three major national strategic priorities, which will involve an expansion of our work to gather evidence from universities around the country, a major analysis project to understand what universities have in fact been doing to combat antisemitism (generally much too little), and investing in litigation to force universities to defend their Jewish students. We believe that university campuses have long been an incubator for antisemitism, and that students often acquire antisemitic beliefs at university and then bring those beliefs out into other arenas when they graduate, infecting political parties, for example.
The third area is antisemitic crime online and on the streets. Campaign Against Antisemitism was founded in response to surging antisemitic crime just over five years ago, and despite landmark legal successes which have involved everything from private prosecution to judicial review, the Crown Prosecution Service is still failing to adequately prosecute antisemitic incitement online, and we are also very concerned about its approach to antisemitic hate crime on the streets. We intend to build on our legal successes by bringing more cases. The incitement by antisemites and their apparent impunity is emboldening growing numbers of racists to criminally target British Jews. We must ensure that the authorities act, and deter the antisemites.
We need your help.
In order to accomplish our goals in 2020, we must raise a significant litigation fund. That is because the only part of our programme that is not funded is the litigation. Whereas we receive the help of extremely accomplished lawyers on a pro bono basis, there is only so much work they can take on. We need an in-house lawyer to assist them by taking on much of the legwork on cases so that we can bring more actions.
2020 is the year that we must build on our successes and turn the tables on antisemites in this country. We need your support to succeed, and that is why we are asking that everyone donates towards our litigation fund. We are raising money to pay the salaries of a full-time lawyer and paralegal, as well as court and insurance fees. Together, these costs are substantial, and they will be ongoing.