Antisemitism in Political Parties

Tahir Ali

2019-present: Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham, Hall Green

1999-2019: Labour councillor, Nechells ward, Birmingham City Council


  1. On 27th November 2019, at a pre-election constituency hustings meeting, Mr Ali said [circa 12:10]: “There is no place for racism of any kind in any party…earlier this week, the Lib Dem candidate in Hodge Hill — it was last week — has been suspended because of antisemetic [sic] remarks. Two Conservative candidates this week have been suspended because of antisemite [sic] remarks. You will not see them in the national media. And it’s the Labour Party that’s always been driven by mainstream media, whether it’s the Lehman Brothers, or Murdoch-backed media institutions…” Responding to an interjection from an audience member in which the questioner appears to ask “Why is the Labour party being led by a racist?” Mr Ali replied: “If you read the Daily Mail, that is exactly the sort of things you’re going to see. You need to look at everything in context. There’ll be a lot of allegations at Jeremy Corbyn because of the kind of person he is, because the direction of the Party is changed, because of the direction of politics that this country is changing…We need to be totally clear: the attack on Corbyn is for one and one reason only — to make sure Boris [Johnson] ends up in Number Ten…”

    It should be noted that the suspensions of a Liberal Democrat (Waheed Rafiq) and Conservative candidates (Amjad Bashir and Ryan Houghton) over alleged antisemitism, as referred to by Mr Ali, had been widely reported in the national media. Lehman Brothers was an investment bank, originally founded and run by a Jewish family from the mid-19th Century until 1969.


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

By suggesting that accusations of antisemitism in the Labour Party and against Jeremy Corbyn personally [1] are disproportionate and made for political reasons, namely as part of a right-wing media-driven conspiracy to ensure a Conservative government, his comments necessarily include the Jewish groups and individuals who have been prominent among those who have claimed there is antisemitism in the Labour Party. In making this statement, therefore, he was 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…”


On 5th December 2019, it was reported that Mr Ali had claimed to have confused Lehman Brothers with the Barclay Brothers, who currently own the Daily Telegraph, and that he had stressed that he would “never peddle” the antisemitic trope that Jews control the world’s finances. 

On 11th December 2019, it was reported that Mr Ali had been reported to the police over his comments in [1].

On 28th January 2020, it was reported that Mr Ali was one of only a handful of MPs who had declined to sign up to the International Definition of Antisemitism.

On 23rd February 2020, it was reported that the largest Facebook group supporting the Labour leadership candidacy of Rebecca Long Bailey, of which Mr Ali was reportedly a member, was littered with antisemitic posts. There was no suggestion, however, that Mr Ali had endorsed any of the posts in question.

On 26th June 2020, it was reported that Mr Ali had finally signed up to the International Definition of Antisemitism in the presence of the Opposition Chief Whip.

On the same day, Mr Ali posted on Facebook that he had been amongst the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs who had met with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to protest against the sacking from the shadow cabinet of Rebecca Long Bailey for having shared an article which contained an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

We do not know whether disciplinary action has been taken by the Labour Party against Mr Ali, and at the time of writing, on 2nd July 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 July 2020, Campaign Against Antisemitism put this matter to both Mr Ali and the Labour Party, but did not receive a response.


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 22nd July 2020.