It is a simple checklist for a political party, really:
- Do not call antisemitic terrorist groups your “friends”
- Do not just say you’ll “reflect” when challenged about it
- Do not associate with Holocaust deniers
- Do not give a free pass to your senior MPs when they suggest Jews are using their “Jewish money” to facilitate murder
- Do not cover up investigations into student members who harassed Jews, for example by calling Auschwitz a “cash cow”
- Do not promote to positions of power people who think that Hitler is the “Zionist God”
- Do not readmit and then re-expel members who want to solve the “Jewish question”
It is a checklist that the Labour Party has had a great deal of trouble following.
The catalogue of antisemitic acts committed by Labour Party members is growing at an alarming rate. Since making the case for a wholesale investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party just over a week ago, new revelations have come to light.
- As the Oxford University Labour Club is investigated, Labour students at other universities have been revealed to also have “some kind of problem with Jews”, as Alex Chalmers bravely put it as he resigned as Co-Chair of OULC.
- It was discovered that Gerry Downing, who wants to solve the “Jewish question”, was readmitted to and then re-expelled from the Labour Party, before being quizzed on his views by Andrew Neil in an interview.
- Today we learned that Vicki Kirby, who thinks that Hitler is the “Zionist God” and that Jews have “big noses” and “slaughter the oppressed” has been elected Vice Chair of the Woking branch of the Party, and that nothing will be done unless there is “new evidence”.
The decline of the Labour Party has been worryingly swift. This time last year, the Party largely shrugged off accusations of antisemitism by pointing out that its leader was Jewish, but that excuse vanished when Jeremy Corbyn became Leader of the Opposition and showed early on that he could tolerate some pretty extreme antisemitism. Since then, the intermittent trickle of evidence has become a steady stream.
Back in October, we were horrified by Labour’s utterly determined refusal to take action against Sir Gerald Kaufman MP, but we read today’s announcement by the Labour Party that they will do nothing about Vicki Kirby because there is no “new evidence” with resignation.
Jews must feel welcome in any political party. It is extremely dangerous when they do not. Every Party has embarrassing lunatics who are not picked up by vetting procedures until they stumble into the limelight, but when that happens we expect that their Party will firmly and swiftly reject them.
Many Labour members are speaking out bravely against the antisemitic rot that is devouring their political home, but far too many seem not to be terribly bothered.
When antisemitism in your party’s ranks is no longer surprising, and complaints from Jews are a daily nuisance, your party has pervasive antisemitism and a broken system for rooting it out.
The Labour Party is starting to look institutionally antisemitic, and that is dangerous for Jews, dangerous for democracy and dangerous for Britain.