Antisemitism in Political Parties

Pamela Fitzpatrick

2014-present: Labour councillor, Headstone South ward, Harrow Council

2019: Labour Parliamentary candidate, Harrow East

Incidents

  1. On or around 26th March 2018, Councillor Pamela Fitzpatrick retweeted a post from the @SocialistVoice Twitter account (which is run by Scott Nelson, a pro-Jeremy Corbyn activist who was suspended and reportedly eventually expelled from the Labour Party following complaints of disseminating antisemitic discourse and abuse) which included a link to a statement by the antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organization Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL). The statement objected to the organisation of a rally by the Board of Deputies of British Jews in protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party, claiming: “The Board of Deputies and those supporting them must be aware that this is an attempt to influence local elections and has nothing to do with the real and necessary task of challenging racism and anti-semitism [sic] at all levels of political life.”
  1. On or around 2nd April 2018, Cllr Fitzpatrick retweeted a link to a letter published in The Guardian entitled: “Stop Jeremy Corbyn’s trial by media over antisemitism.” The letter’s signatories asserted that media coverage of the antisemitism crisis within the Labour Party had been biased, reporting it in such a way as to suggest that “antisemitism is a problem mostly to do with Labour and that Corbyn is personally responsible for failing to deal with it.” They suggested that the coverage had relied on only “a handful” of sources, including Jewish charities described as “well-known opponents of Jeremy Corbyn himself.” Having gone on to suggest that the real threat to Jews in both Britain and Europe came from the right, the signatories concluded: “It is not ‘whataboutery’ to suggest that the debate on antisemitism has been framed in such a way as to mystify the real sources of anti-Jewish bigotry and instead to weaponise it against a single political figure just ahead of important elections.”
  1. On or around 4th March 2019, Cllr Fitzpatrick reportedly retweeted a post which stated: “I resigned this evening. Cannot take incessant [antisemitism] battering, lies, deceit, and sheer hatred of some Labour MPs towards their own members and good and faithful Labour MPs. Started to affect my health, Felt like I was in the middle of a witch hunt. I will always support [Jeremy Corbyn].”The tweet had originally been posted in response to an appeal for calm amongst Labour members from Dawn Butler MP, following revelations about alleged interference by senior Labour Party officials in disciplinary cases involving antisemitism.

    The account in question — @xpressanny — had, less than a month earlier, been condemned by Wes Streeting MP, a vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism (after the account had attacked former Labour councillor Emily Benn and Luciana Berger MP over antisemitism), as having apparently endorsed a notorious antisemitic image and shared numerous conspiracy theories involving the Rothschilds. It appears that the account’s owner was expecting to be disciplined by the Labour Party and resigned before action could be taken against her.Cllr Fitzpatrick had interacted with the account previously.

Analysis

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis is that Cllr Fitzpatrick’s actions amount to breaches of the International Definition of Antisemitism and qualify as antisemitic discourse according to our methodology.

Given that the comments by @xpressanny necessarily include the Jewish groups and individuals who have been prominent among those who have complained about antisemitism in the Labour Party, by retweeting a post in which allegations of antisemitism were characterised as “lies”, “deceit” and a “witch hunt” [3]; by sharing a statement by JVL in which the Board of Deputies of British Jews were accused of protesting against antisemitism in order to try to influence the outcome of an election [1]; and by sharing a letter which suggested that the debate on antisemitism was being manipulated in order to  “weaponise it against a single political figure [Jeremy Corbyn] just ahead of important elections”[2], Cllr Fitzpatrick was endorsing and disseminating material deploying the so-called ‘Livingstone Formulation, by accusing Jews who cite evidence of antisemitism of lying, conspiring or having deceitful motives in doing so, when there is clear evidence that there have been breaches of the International Definition of Antisemitism. This constitutes “making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”

Outcome

On 26th June 2018, it was reported that Harrow East CLP, which had selected Cllr Fitzpatrick as the parliamentary candidate earlier in the year, had voted almost unanimously to affiliate with JVL, and that this move had been condemned by the Jewish Labour Movement. Cllr Fitzpatrick reportedly told the Jewish Chronicle that the decision to affiliate with JVL was a matter for the CLP to issue comment on.

On 4th March 2019, it was reported that Cllr Fitzpatrick had left the council chamber before a vote on a motion condemning antisemitism. She denied accusations that she had left deliberately to avoid the vote saying: “I was and am completely supportive of the motion, and I’m glad it was passed unanimously. I wish I’d been able to add my vote in support.”

On 11th May 2019, it was reported that Jewish members of London Young Labour had objected to Cllr Fitzpatrick’s being invited to speak at the group’s AGM on account of her having retweeted the comments in [2].

On 10th November 2019, it was reported that Cllr Fitzpatrick had retweeted posts defending Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of the antisemitism crisis in the Labour Party.

On 30th April 2020, it was reported that Cllr Fitzpatrick had been a speaker in an online Zoom meeting, organised by the far-left Labour Representation Committee and the antisemitism-denial group JVL, in which expelled activists Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker had also participated.

We do not know whether disciplinary action has been taken by the Labour Party against Cllr Fitzpatrick, and at the time of writing, on 22nd October 2020, we have no record of any. However, the circumstances and outcomes of any such action would remain unknown, owing to the conditions of secrecy imposed by Baroness Chakrabarti’s report on antisemitism in the Labour Party.

In October 2020, Campaign Against Antisemitism put this matter to both Cllr Fitzpatrick and the Labour Party, but did not receive a response.

Rating

Campaign Against Antisemitism has rated the Party’s handling of this matter as “bad”. Our rating system is explained in our methodology. This case was last updated on 27th October 2020.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has rated the Party’s handling of this matter as “unsatisfactory”. Our rating system is explained in our methodology. This case was last updated on 1st Monthember 2019.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has rated the Party’s handling of this matter as “good”. Our rating system is explained in our methodology. This case was last updated on 1st Monthember 2019.