A scandal has erupted at the Party branch of the new pro-Corbyn MP, Sam Tarry.
Last week, at the Cranbrook and Valentines branch of the Labour Party in Mr Tarry’s Ilford South constituency, a motion was carried declaring that there was “no antisemitism in the Labour Party” and attacking the Board of Deputies of British Jews as being “consistent in its support for the Conservative Party”, accusing it of “illegally interfering in the Labour leadership contest.”
Alex Holmes, the vice-chairman of the Ilford South Labour constituency who spoke against the motion, reported that he was labelled an “agent of a foreign power” for doing so and described the gathering as “the worst Labour meeting I have ever attended.”
Three councillors condemned the motion and the atmosphere, saying: “Last night Cranbrook and Valentines Branch Labour Party passed a motion that minimised the scourge of antisemitism in the Labour Party…There are reports that members who spoke against the motion were bullied and antisemitic tropes were used at the meeting. Let us be clear: we utterly condemn this motion and believe that all accusations of abuse and antisemitism should be investigated. There is no place for antisemitism in the Labour Party and we expect swift action to be taken against anyone responsible.”
Mr Tarry said that there were “conflicting accounts of what happened and what was said” and described the allegations as “very serious”, but did not go further. His failure to condemn the motion elicited significant criticism, with another Labour MP reportedly saying that this was Mr Tarry’s “first test since being elected on stamping out antisemitism in his local party” and concluded: “so far he is failing badly”.
Mr Tarry then clarified that, having seen the motion and spoken to members in attendance, he requested that “any complaints go through the Party’s formal channels to ensure that this matter is dealt with thoroughly and impartially.”
Local councillors in Redbridge Labour voted overwhelmingly for an investigation.
It subsequently emerged that the authors of the motion were senior figures in Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), a pro-Corbyn antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation: Diana Neslen, a member of JVL’s steering group, and Murray Glickman, a JVL founder.
Ms Nelsen apparently once defended the use of the word “Zio” to attack Jews, claiming that there were “connections between Zionists and antisemites throughout history,” and on another occasion wrote that “the lessons of the Holocaust is [sic] that all lives are worthy and since the Israelis learnt the wrong lesson their baubles no longer have any currency.” Mr Glickman, meanwhile, has authored an essay titled: “Is Right To Exist Denial Really Antisemitic?”
It then transpired that Ms Nelsen and Mr Glickman had originally nominated Mr Tarry to be the local parliamentary candidate in the first place. His selection as Labour’s candidate was also mired in controversy, as his main rival was reportedly suspended by Labour the night before voting was scheduled to take place in October, prompting his supporters to allege that the suspension was politically motivated in order to clear the path for Mr Tarry. The rival is now apparently taking legal action against the Labour Party.
Mr Tarry went on to win the seat in the general election and succeed Mike Gapes as the local MP for the area. Mr Gapes was a principled MP who resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism.
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is 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.