EHRC Releases UK Labour Antisemitism Report
October 29, 2020 7:01 AM   Subscribe

 
I don't think Starmer would have done so if he didn't think he would come out on top of the now inevitable internal power struggle. Whether he actually does...
posted by PenDevil at 7:24 AM on October 29


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posted by lalochezia at 7:27 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


About damn time.
posted by Mchelly at 7:30 AM on October 29 [6 favorites]


Everyone involved in suspending Jeremy Corbyn should be ashamed of themselves. What a farce.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:41 AM on October 29 [22 favorites]


This is about time and is vital but I really worry about this absorbing the party and Starmer to the point where they can't provide the opposition we so desperately need right now in the light of Covid, Brexit etc. Somehow Starmer needs to see this through and at the same time keep up the pressure on the government for its many failings.
posted by dowcrag at 7:41 AM on October 29 [5 favorites]


[One comment deleted and a 24 hour ban. Please don't comment on this in a way that downplays antisemitism, come on.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:44 AM on October 29 [18 favorites]


how much of this Corbyn suspending is a contiunued coup against his leadership; and how much supporting palestine is automatically assumed by the neo-liberal left to be anti-semitism, how do we critizise Israel and not be anti-semetic.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:47 AM on October 29 [8 favorites]


If anyone has any hot takes about how this is surely all a conspiracy to undermine Dear Leader / a right wing plot / whatever. I would encourage you to consider the following:

-You would not dare tell any other minority that they were deluded / being misled / a victim of factional trickery if they accused an organisation of institutional prejudice against them. Don't @me, you fucking know it. I would go so far as to say that if you persisted on posting on the subject on Metafilter you would be furiously denounced and your account would be suspended.

-On the eve of the December 2019 election, 87% of British Jews felt that the Labour party was institutionally anti-Semitic. For reference, only 65% of BAME Britons felt that the British police displayed bias against them. If you feel that the opinions of BAME on police racism are enough to form a definitive view on that subject, then you owe a pretty detailed explanation about why this is not true in this case.

-The EHRC is an independent institution, set up by a Labour government to enforce the law. If you are inherently opposed to a-political judicial enforncement institutions, that is your right, but I would invite you to consider if that is indeed your considered and consistent position.

-Here is Angela Rayner, very much a member of the Corbynite wing of the party and elected to Deputy Leader on a continuity Corbyn ticket essentially:

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, who was promoted to the shadow cabinet under Corbyn, said the former party leader had “an absolute blind spot” on appreciating the scale of the problem.

Asked by BBC Radio 4 about Corbyn’s suspension, she said: “I’m devastated that it’s come to this. Today should be about really listening, reading and taking in the report.”

She rejected the idea that the issue had been exaggerated for partisan reasons, saying people should read the EHRC report: “I think that brings shame on us, and there’s no mitigation of that, and we have to acknowledge that and do something about it.”

Asked about Corbyn’s response, she said: “I’m deeply, deeply upset by the circumstances, and upset that Jeremy wasn’t able to see the pain that the Jewish community have gone through.

“Jeremy is a fully decent man, but as Margaret Hodge said, he has an absolute blind spot, and a denial, when it comes to these issues. And that’s devastating.”


If you can't accept her point of view, I would again invite you to consider whether you are better informed than she is.

-If you have a view on the institutional prejudices of other political parties in the UK, you are quite likely to be correct but I would invite you to consider whether "whataboutism" is usually considered good etiquette on MetaFilter and whether you would tolerate it in the context of other prejudices against minorities.

Corbyn is a fool. If he had kept his mouth shut, or not qualified his response to the report he would certainly not have been suspended. The reality of intra-party dynamics is this: leaders who are polling well are given extremely wide latitude by the party because politics is about power and you don't make policy from the back benches. The party can smell Tory blood in the water, is now polling above the Conservatives for the first time in ages, can genuinely see a Starmer led party taking a substantial lead in trustworthiness and leadership credibility (Labour policies have always polled much better than the party so this is where they have to win)
posted by atrazine at 7:51 AM on October 29 [113 favorites]


Thank you for taking my quesitons seriously atrazine, I appreciate the informaiton.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:57 AM on October 29 [8 favorites]


how much of this Corbyn suspending is a contiunued coup against his leadership; and how much supporting palestine is automatically assumed by the neo-liberal left to be anti-semitism, how do we critizise Israel and not be anti-semetic.

A coup? He resigned and a very different person was elected leader of the party. Keir Starmer is leader of the Labour party.

It is extremely easy to criticise Israel without being anti-Semitic. I do it nearly continuously to my large circle of (mostly Zionist) Jewish friends and family. No-one has ever accused me of anti-Semitism even among people who I have made so angry that they prefer not to talk to me at all. One can always ask oneself, "would I say this about France, about Namibia?". I tell you what, I've said a lot of stuff about France that is profoundly negative. I've not said so much about Namibia because I don't speak the language[s], don't know the context. Nobody thinks that I'm anti-France either.
posted by atrazine at 7:58 AM on October 29 [21 favorites]


For what it's worth, if you hear that someone is being officially sanctioned for anti-semitism, immediately jumping to but what about Israel? is part of the problem.
posted by Mchelly at 8:19 AM on October 29 [34 favorites]


Meanwhile, on Communist Twitter, it's 1938 and the height of the Doctors' Plot.
posted by acb at 8:23 AM on October 29 [2 favorites]


Thanks for your insights, atrazine.
Corbyn should never have been leader, for a multitude of reasons. Suspension seems like a very radical step, but I haven't read the report yet.
posted by mumimor at 8:24 AM on October 29


I am furious that Corbyn's group didn't even have the presence of mind to even consider the optics of just about every step they took on this. If these were younger politicians with a real momentum behind them, I'd expect them to run off and form a new party like it's 1983, as it really almost seemed like they were daring Labour to remove the whip.

But no, they probably genuinely didn't realise that all their "Ooh fun fact, did you know that Hitler..." and "What if pointing out antisemitism is the real antisemitism?" stuff is exactly the kind of crap that the fash they claim to oppose pull all the time, and we've become damned good at spotting it online.

So yeah, time to move past Livingstone and Corbyn now, and find better heroes. These guys were never up to it.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 8:24 AM on October 29 [9 favorites]


Can we have no heroes at all? Heroes never work out well.
posted by Grangousier at 8:28 AM on October 29 [12 favorites]


At best, this shines a light on Corbyn's naivety and rank political amateurism.

To be generous, then, he so desperately wanted a leftist coalition to take over Labour that he allowed himself to forget the simple fact that the hard left, at all times and everywhere, has had an anti-Semitic element, the better to make as large a leftist tent he could. (One has to be generous to make this assessment - the man is steeped in the hard left and simply must have encountered anti-Semitism in the past. How often had he given it a pass before becoming leader on the basis of comradeship? Forget or ignore that fact, then.)

He so desperately wanted to ride the populist wave that he allowed himself to forget or ignore the simple fact that populist movements, at all times and everywhere, have had an anti-Semitic element, the better to make as large a populist tent he could. (Again, this is a generous assessment - with Corbyn as fool rather than knave; the dog on the street knows populism and anti-Semitism have a tendency to adjacency. Good grief, though! They called their movement Momentum because it actually had some - kicking out a couple of hundred Jew-bashing idiots wasn't going to stall that. Not doing so stalled that. )

Correctly diagnosing that internal factions and external enemies would weaponise anything and everything to harm him and his movement, he came to believe that any and all attacks were meritless, fabricated attacks by internal factions and external enemies. Then, when notional allies raised their own flags, they too were ignored.

A better, stronger, wiser leader would have acted faster and harder to limit the leftist coalition to those who were not anti-Semites, would have limited the populist wave allowed in the tent to those elements which were not anti-Semitic and would have been able to recognise that at least some proportion of attacks might have some sort of grounding in reality and acted accordingly. And with what result those failures? The Tories. The fucking Tories. The Tories got to bash them for racism!

Political children who hoisted their naivety like a tattered flag, proud of their lack of professionalism and nous when they had the wind at their backs, pissed away their advantage and screwed things up for everyone. This isn't the only reason they deserved to lose, and lose badly, but it's up there. (It is very small comfort indeed that, between the last Labour leadership and the current wrecking crew in Number 10, Scottish independence has never looked closer.)
posted by deeker at 8:37 AM on October 29 [6 favorites]


This morning the BBC interviewed Sam Matthews to give his hot take on the report.
It was the usual "we tackled the problem of Corbyn's anti-semitism and can now move on"

The report says that in 2018 Labour's handling of reports of anti-semitism was appalling and only when the party replaced those involved did things improve.
One of the people who was replaced for their inadequate response to reports of anti-semitism was the head of the Disputes, Governance and Legal Unit, Sam Matthews.

The report criticised Corbyn for intervening in the process.
Corbyn intervened to speed up the suspension of Ken Livingstone because the GLU were dragging their feet to make Corbyn look bad.

The whole thing is kafkaesque.

As for the concern trolling that claiming the anti-semitism accusations were politically motivated is anti-semitic.
All I can say is RIP David Graeber
posted by fullerine at 8:39 AM on October 29 [18 favorites]


Can we have no heroes at all?

more and more, I think the answer to this is NO, not in politics. Not recognized heroes anyway. I think all kinds of heroic stuff has to happen behind the scenes, else the political animals become fully untethered, left to rampage. But the notion of a great hero emerging in the spotlight, pointing us all The Way -- that just feeds the future cynicism that arises from said hero's inevitable decline and fall.
posted by philip-random at 8:54 AM on October 29 [5 favorites]


Fullerine, isn't that Decker's point? All Corbyn had to do was confirm that there was a problem with AS in the Labour Party and not make the EHRC's findings about himself in a public statement. It's really simple-level political movements.
posted by Braeburn at 9:07 AM on October 29 [5 favorites]


Oh, and of course. Don't have heroes. Have people that inspire you, but you've got to be your own hero.
posted by Braeburn at 9:08 AM on October 29 [5 favorites]


The party can smell Tory blood in the water, is now polling above the Conservatives for the first time in ages, can genuinely see a Starmer led party taking a substantial lead in trustworthiness and leadership credibility

[insert laughing reaction meme of your choice]
posted by Cezar Golescu at 9:10 AM on October 29 [2 favorites]


Corbyn should never have been leader, for a multitude of reasons. Suspension seems like a very radical step, but I haven't read the report yet.

He wasn't even suspended for the contents of the report. Keir Starmer was placed under some pressure this morning to do so but essentially said "look, he's yesterday's man, we're going to implement these recommendations and I'm deeply ashamed of what went on here". Corbyn is now a backbench MP of limited influence so he could have just stood down at the next general election. Actually he could just have stood again if he really wanted to! Gone back to his career of obscurity and a future as a trivia question 20 years from now.

Corbyn has then come out with a statement that rejected the conclusion of the report saying the problem was “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by opponents and the media.

I want to be fair to Jeremy Corbyn that he did condemn anti-Semitism in his statement and re-iterated what he has said multiple times which is that it has no place in the Labour party. I'm not his biggest fan but it's a fact that he has condemned it when called upon to do so. The reality is that he was not required to comment on it at all, that he could have come out with a statement that condemning anti-Semitism and reiterating his opposition to it without commenting on whether he thought the report was correct or not. He chose not to do.

This was fucking bananas. He either does not understand or does not care about political optics. Labour had a whole programme planned for tomorrow, ShadCab all scheduled for radio and TV, constituency parties told to avoid any embarrassing ammunition, Angela Rayner as resident speaker-for-the-left prepared to draw a line under it. What does JC do? Gets his dick out on the table.

Obviously when a party does something embarrassing, opponents of that party will seek to amplify that thing and use it to their advantage. Obviously! Would Democrats in the US be so keen to impeach Trump about some obscure Ukraine corruption if he wasn't their enemy? Of course not. Were people in Labour as critical of Tony Blair's privileged upbringing as David Cameron's or Boris Johnson's? Of course they were not. Were many of the people most critical of Boris Johnson for his racist remarks people who felt he should not be PM for entirely different reasons? Certainly. Were many of the people who pushed hardest for Dominic Cummings to go after his magical eye-checking adventure also people who wanted him out before that? They sure were!

There is a big, big gap though between recognising the reality that one's opponents will seek to present one's misdeeds in the worst possible light and therefore deciding that there were no misdeeds, the whole thing is ginned up by your enemies and you are as pure as the driven snow.

It is always interesting to see what people who have no political interest, or even a contrary political interest say.

Jon Lansman A hard-right Blairite activist the founder of Momentum acknowledged that there were serious problems with anti-Semitism in the party and how it had been handled. (Although his position was that this improved substantially after 2018). His view on the report is that it's a time for the party to think carefully and reflect - a position that was also open to Jeremy Corbyn to take BTW.
posted by atrazine at 9:18 AM on October 29 [33 favorites]


But the notion of a great hero emerging in the spotlight, pointing us all The Way -- that just feeds the future cynicism that arises from said hero's inevitable decline and fall.

Tell me about it. I've been through the whole journey with Corbyn, and I think it's the last time for me with The Left. I don't really have the heart for another Kronstadt moment. It's a question of the left as a set of assumptions and policies, which I generally agree with, being co-opted by the Left as a culture. Now, the problem with the Left as a culture is that it's essentially a marginal culture, and it can't be otherwise - I naively hoped that Corbyn would bring those assumptions and policies to the mainstream, whereas all that happened was they dragged the Labour party to the margins. They actually seem to think that "The Left don't like Keir Starmer very much" will count against Starmer in some way with the general public.

He's fine. He's doing as competent a managerial job as he can. He's not really a knight on a white horse. He'd be much better at doing the Prime Minister thing than the current incumbent, but I don't know that he'll get a chance. We've a long way to go yet.

But Corbyn and his lot? They failed, they failed big and ultimately that failure betrayed the party and the people they're supposed to represent. But they don't care. They're just upset that people call them anti-semitic for saying anti-semitic things. Fuck 'em.
posted by Grangousier at 9:18 AM on October 29 [23 favorites]


Thank you for that link to Graeber, fullerine. Now there's a hero. I mourn his early demise.
posted by No Robots at 9:41 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


I don’t really see “be pro-war crimes or fuck off” to be a long term sustainable position for labour TBH. Nor the use of a right wing tool. Bad faith and bad blood all around and not much of a future.
posted by Artw at 9:43 AM on October 29 [5 favorites]


"Corbyn has then come out with a statement that rejected the conclusion of the report saying the problem was “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by opponents and the media."

Given that the media and the Torys (both of which are quite comfortable with anti-Semitism) were hysterically targeted Corbyn and making wildly unsupported claims, this is undoubtedly true.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:47 AM on October 29 [10 favorites]


Actual corbyn quote, re "do not accept all its findings".

“One antisemite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.

“That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated. My sincere hope is that relations with Jewish communities can be rebuilt and those fears overcome. While I do not accept all of its findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.”
posted by lalochezia at 9:59 AM on October 29 [7 favorites]


You would not dare tell any other minority that they were deluded / being misled / a victim of factional trickery if they accused an organisation of institutional prejudice against them.

This is precisely the internal argument that has been roiling the Democratic Party in the US wrt Black people, women, etc. - definitely not unique to the UK Labour Party vis-a-vis anti-Semitism. Which should not minimize or excuse it. But it may be helpful in coming up with practical solutions to understand where this might fit in with broader trends and issues.

posted by eviemath at 10:01 AM on October 29 [2 favorites]


The full text of the statement:

“Antisemitism is absolutely abhorrent, wrong and responsible for some of humanity’s greatest crimes. As Leader of the Labour Party I was always determined to eliminate all forms of racism and root out the cancer of antisemitism. I have campaigned in support of Jewish people and communities my entire life and I will continue to do so.

“The EHRC’s report shows that when I became Labour leader in 2015, the Party’s processes for handling complaints were not fit for purpose. Reform was then stalled by an obstructive party bureaucracy. But from 2018, Jennie Formby and a new NEC that supported my leadership made substantial improvements, making it much easier and swifter to remove antisemites. My team acted to speed up, not hinder the process.

“Anyone claiming there is no antisemitism in the Labour Party is wrong. Of course there is, as there is throughout society, and sometimes it is voiced by people who think of themselves as on the left.
“Jewish members of our party and the wider community were right to expect us to deal with it, and I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should.

“One antisemite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated.
“My sincere hope is that relations with Jewish communities can be rebuilt and those fears overcome. While I do not accept all of its findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.”


What exactly does he think he is adding by noting that the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons?

Tactically, if nothing else, is that not an opinion he could have kept to himself? Saying unhelpful things which he believes (and I am sure that he does believe these things) is basically the JC story. He's like an own-goal machine. Is it match fixing?

I'm not expecting that he would come out full of praise for this report and to endorse every single one of its findings. Surely though, right after your party has been found guilty of institutional prejudice is not an appropriate time to make that claim. Imagine if the chief constable of the Met did something like that? Came out with a statement that in response to a finding of institutional prejudice that they accepted the problem existed but that the scale of the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons. What might the reaction to such a comment be?

He is perfectly entitled to respond to this report by reiterating his personal opposition to anti-Semitism and to his view that people holding those positions should not be in the Labour party. I would expect him to do that, I even believe that deep in his heart he fully believes those things as he believes basically everything he says. That is both right and fair because he doesn't believe that he's an anti-Semite and wants to repeat that publicly as he has many times.

It's one thing if he was asked "do you agree with everything in the report?" to give a straight answer. I still that's bad tactics and I think it's darkly comic that a wing of the party politically aligned with some of the most ruthless and competent political operators in history can't even operate effectively on a day to day basis. That isn't even what happened. He proactively put out this statement.
posted by atrazine at 10:19 AM on October 29 [12 favorites]


He fully believes those things as he believes basically everything he says...

The problem - as you are suggesting yourself - is that he apparently can see no difference between this and saying everything he believes. Own goal machine, indeed.
posted by deeker at 10:27 AM on October 29 [3 favorites]


Having skimmed the report, I wouldn't say Corbyn's entirely out of line in rejecting some of it. The report spends a good portion of Chapter 5 complaining about the political interference of Corbyn's people. It complains about Corbyn's group installing new leadership to the GLU in the middle of 2018, and then goes on admits that problematic policies like ignoring complaints about politicians liking/sharing anti-semitic material ended in the middle of 2018, and that the office was addressing far more antisemitism complaints by 2019 than it had in years prior.

So I certainly see cause to reject the parts of a report criticizing apparently effective action by Corbyn on merely procedural grounds.

Honestly, it's not a terribly ground breaking report as far as analysis goes. The conclusions read like pretty basic 101 level stuff to me: have a consistent and clear process, actually talk to Jewish people when forming the politcies, and do some sensitivity training. Yes, basics are good - but it won't be enough.

It spends a lot of time emphasizing clear policy and procedure, and little on specifics of what seems to work and what doesn't. I found nothing terribly illuminating about how to effectively combat an institutional culture of antisemitism.

I think just accepting the dumbed down narrative of "Corbyn said bad things about parts of a report on anti-semitism, clearly he's weak on anti-semitism!" is not helpful. The report's suggestions of course are good, but also very basic. Making a show of implementing them won't make anti-semitism really go away. And if the Labor leadership is allowed to scapegoat Corbyn and wash their hands of the affair, they will not have the incentive to do enough.
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:05 AM on October 29 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I was going to keep my mouth shut, but thank you for saying what I was thinking there, eviemath. We can find many similarities in the struggles of disparate oppressed groups, but we have to be aware of highlighting them in ways that don't minimize or shove aside others. We can build solidarity from recognizing different facets of how bigotry acts, but doing this carelessly in a way that elevates one struggle above another can needlessly set people against each other.

This entire topic is fairly (intentionally) poisoned and it is unlikely that it can really be discussed in good faith... but even so, less sneering and more solidarity would be a good thing; and citations are kind of necessary, I think, given the noise-to-signal ratio. Sweeping generalizations and vague allusions are not so helpful. In full, the statement Corbyn made that we are now discussing can still be somewhat problematic, but it is demonstrably true that there was a media flurry of disinformation regarding his stance and statements on this. Acknowledging that can take away from the broader condemnation of antisemitism, and I personally bristle a bit at any sort of swiftly moving on sentiment, but I can understand the impulse to correct the record, especially from a rare public figure who does seem to try to communicate with sincerity.

Ideally, Corbyn probably should have refrained from commenting, at least at this time. I am not convinced this would have done anything to keep discussion focused on the report itself, but it might have done. Although reading through the report, probably not, as a fair bit of it is built on instances like this and this (which Corbyn condemned at the time) which taken at face value are more about not recognizing potentially antisemitic tropes, being educated and reversing stances, which are... fine? Ideal even? Shah made a fairly clear-cut antisemitic statement, got suspended, apologized and made at least a visible effort at reconciliation. The most damning part of this is Ken Livingstone's insistence on Shah's post+comment not being antisemitic, and downplaying antisemitism in Labour generally, and the bureaucratic foot-dragging about what to do with that.

Anyway, here is a fairly good synopsis of the report highlighting specific cases, if anyone wants a brief summary of the factual, documented information.
posted by Lonnrot at 11:09 AM on October 29 [3 favorites]


Labour does need to clean house, and Corbyn is a very convenient target after the losses his party sustained last year. I'm doubtful him being removed necessarily solves much, but we'll see what other significant changes follow, if any. That said, the UK media does seem parochially focused on real hard-left anti-Semitism, to the exclusion of a serious discussion about a much larger-scale problem from hard-right populism that has taken over Britain as a whole. There is a long history of anti-Semitism by Conservatives currently in power, and their common-cause alignment with similar populist movements in Poland and Hungary has helped enable legal and social policy changes that have caused significant and sweeping damage to human rights.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:13 AM on October 29 [3 favorites]


Also, I agree with Zalzidrax - I am interested in what specific cases were investigated, how they were resolved and how best to address future complaints, and I am finding this very simplistic and often vague. "A lack of clear guidance" is a big thing, which is a problem, but what are the next steps in establishing clearer procedures? Haven't finished the report in full, but there is a lot on significant blindspots in party leadership and a section on previous recommendations that have not been followed, but... will they, now? Or...?
posted by Lonnrot at 11:18 AM on October 29


atrazine, I wish there was a 'standing ovation' button on here. You are absolutely spot on.
posted by EllaEm at 11:35 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


Tactically, if nothing else, is that not an opinion he could have kept to himself? Saying unhelpful things which he believes (and I am sure that he does believe these things) is basically the JC story. He's like an own-goal machine. Is it match fixing?

This. So much this.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:23 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]


My understanding of Jeremy Corbyn’s career has swerved around so madly that all it has driven home is the extremely small size of my window onto the UK from the States.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:38 PM on October 29


I think if you are going to not agree with the findings of a report on findings about institutional discrimination that includes homocaust denials, or say it's exaggerated by your enemies, it's really fucking shitty not to be specific in your critique if you have a specific critique. Doing so, as he did, undermines the whole report.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 2:14 PM on October 29 [4 favorites]


"be pro-war crimes or fuck off" ArtW I'm not sure I follow enough UK politics to understand what you mean? Can you clarify?
posted by Chrysopoeia at 2:16 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]


"be pro-war crimes or fuck off" ArtW I'm not sure I follow enough UK politics to understand what you mean? Can you clarify?

https://labourlist.org/2020/09/labour-government-bill-risks-torture-and-other-war-crimes-going-unpunished/
posted by HumuloneRanger at 2:29 PM on October 29 [2 favorites]


I'm honestly surprised that Boris didn't try and strike the hot iron with his own version of the Hague Invasion Act. The Sun and Daily Mail would eat up that middle finger to Europe.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:27 PM on October 29


Lonnrot: This whole time, that was what I was looking for. I can't be bothered to read the entire report, in order to find the few concrete examples provided. I'm now baffled that some of these minor snafus (endorsing an artist who had previously made an antisemitic work, for example) are considered "institutional antisemitism". That sounds like the kind of thing many politicians regularly commit, and was a failure of staff to notify Corbyn, no? One can't know everything about every individual they interact with, as a politician, without assistance. As for the Livingstone case, suggesting that Israel be relocated to the United States is not truly antisemitic- that sounds like an extreme anti-Zionism, and another instance in which a resistance to Zionism is conflated with antisemitism. The way people are reacting, you'd think that Labour was full of skinheads defacing synagogues.

I also dislike how, again, in Livingstone's situation, people demanded the expulsion and repudiation of people of colour and Muslims for being tainted by antisemitism. There's no desire for outreach there, and I really don't see how it could come off as anything but white folks seeking to stymie outreach to communities of colour, without recourse or dialogue. This reminds me of critiques of "cancel culture", where refusing to maintain discourse and ostracizing people leads to an intensification of political extremism. If you exclude all Muslims and people of colour that accusers lash out at, and this becomes a nigh-universal pattern, then you will lose not just the votes, but also an opportunity to change minds on topics such as this.

I'm not trying to reduce the severity of antisemitism as a phenomenon, here. I have had the misfortune to meet plenty of people (usually friends of friends or encounters in online communities) that believe in the Elders of Zion, or some variation on it. What is specifically described in your link does not even remotely approach such things. I have spent countless hours arguing with Muslim friends who do hold truly antisemitic views, trying to sway them towards reason. This is why brouhahas like these cause me great alarm. I've made much progress with some individuals through conversation and pacifism.
posted by constantinescharity at 4:54 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]


I can't be bothered to read the entire report [...]

Always a good way to introduce spicy hot takes.

suggesting that Israel be relocated to the United States is not truly antisemitic

Are you kidding? Rounding up millions of people and deporting them, as if they were just numbers to be moved from one column to another? That's what the UN's Office on Genocide Prevention calls "a crime against humanity".

The worst is, though, that you seem to think that you are an expert on what antisemitism really is. You haven't read the report; you haven't followed news stories on what you call “a brouhaha”; but you proudly say that you stand up against people who say “truly antisemitic” things. Give me a break.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:49 PM on October 29 [11 favorites]


Livingstone didn't suggest that Israel should be relocated to the united states (that was actually Naz Shah he was just definding them), he said that Hitler originally supported Zionism. And neither suggesting that people should be forcibly removed from their country and resettled (whether Iraeli or Palestinian) nor revising history about Hitler is ok, to be clear.

The truth is, people often use Israel and Zionism and the names of famous Jewish people like George Soros not to criticize the polices and politicians of Israel or the actual actions of individuals like Soros, but as dog whistles to perpetuate falsehoods and conspiracy theories about Jewish people. They don't need to have any special animus against Jews to perpetuate antisemitic tropes. It's not that legitimate criticisms of Israel don't exist, it's that suggesting things like Israel controls the media is just a way of laundering antisemitism.

Labour members also posted Rothschild conspiracy theories, and linked to an article on FB suggesting the Holocaust was a hoax. Livingstone compared a Jewish reporter a Nazi Prison guard, and told two people to go back to Iran, than apologized to Iran after finding out they were Jewish. The correct amount of antisemitism in politics is none, and arguing with friends who don't hold political office is a very different from critiquing elected officials. Obviously you go for the best possible candidate in the hopes of limiting bad behavior, but then it's stillperfectly fair to critique them for what they do and say even if you voted for them.

The sad thing is I have recently had to make a similar argument, but it was to an American friend when it came to racism against Black folks. Oh which reminds me, critiquing BIPOC and Muslim folks for antisemitism is fine, nothing about being BIPOC or Muslim means that someone has to be antisemitic, and there are plenty of great folks who aren't antisemitic.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 7:06 PM on October 29 [3 favorites]


Our findings
Unlawful acts

Our investigation found that the Labour Party breached the Equality Act 2010 by committing unlawful harassment through the acts of its agents in two of the complaints we investigated. These included using antisemitic tropes and suggesting that complaints of antisemitism were fake or smears.
I think it's worth noting they considered this important enough to put in the executive summary.

(Then the ex-leader writes "the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons". He seems not to have considered that quote would be the story, for the same media and opponents that he blamed for doing this.

Own goal machine, indeed.)
posted by sourcejedi at 7:08 PM on October 29 [2 favorites]


[This is a thread for discussing the report about antisemitism in the Labour Party in the UK, not for relitigating actions of Israel (who are not the Labour Party of the UK) or arguing in a very general way about antisemitism and racism and anti-Muslim sentiment or anti-Israel sentiment.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 10:06 PM on October 29 [2 favorites]


Today's cartoon by Steve Bell, “Labour's Antisemitism Woes,” is wrong on so many levels. It's apparently a reference to the execution of John the Baptist, but I don't know whether it's supposed to show Starmer as Salome or as a servant presenting her with the head. Either way, depicting Corbyn as the precursor to Jesus, killed by “the King of the Jews”, is pretty bad; all the more so if he meant to imply that Starmer was following Jewish instructions.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:20 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]


The Labour party, still in search of an electorate that deserves to have them as a government.
posted by dudleian at 3:37 AM on October 30


I'm pretty sure Starmer is Salome in the cartoon, based on Bell's referencing Caravaggio and the two options that presents.
posted by biffa at 3:58 AM on October 30 [1 favorite]


Having read the report, it reads to me as a level of basic incompetence in addressing complaints about anti-semitism plus some political interference in relation to optics.

I feel like one of the most damning points as far as the EHRC were concerned is that the Labour party demonstrated that they were perfectly capable of running a good complaints process in sexual harassment cases. So they chose not to do so for anti-semitic complaints - probably not deliberately exactly but because they didn't think they were that important (and therein lies the problem). That there should be behaviour to complain about in the first place is also bad but if Labour had just followed good practice more routinely about all equality-related complaints it wouldn't be in this mess.
posted by plonkee at 4:30 AM on October 30 [2 favorites]


I'm now baffled that some of these minor snafus (endorsing an artist who had previously made an antisemitic work, for example) are considered "institutional antisemitism". That sounds like the kind of thing many politicians regularly commit, and was a failure of staff to notify Corbyn, no? One can't know everything about every individual they interact with, as a politician, without assistance.

It's almost like there was an institutional failure there that resulted in some anti-semitism.

🙄
posted by eviemath at 5:41 AM on October 30 [4 favorites]


I'm not totally sure what I am and am not allowed to talk about on this thread, but I just want to say I'm really thankful to see the responses here. I am neither Jewish nor a UK citizen, but as an Indian-American, seeing some of the responses to this issue elsewhere has made me quite nervous about my own position within the left. Which isn't to compare, but the inability for some to acknowledge antisemitism I think says a lot about their overall commitment to social justice.
posted by chernoffhoeffding at 8:57 AM on October 30 [3 favorites]


Labour isn’t in a mess though - it’s seizing an opportunity to purge people on spurious grounds. And the spuriousness of those grounds absolutely does need noting.
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on October 30 [3 favorites]


I really don't understand how some of my friends can think anything else should or could have happened to Corbyn.

Like SourceJedi said above, the report literally (and I mean the literal sense of the word) has this in the section under "types of antisemitic conduct that amounted to unlawful harassment":
2. Suggesting that complaints of antisemitism are fake or smears.
Labour Party agents denied antisemitism in the Party and made comments dismissing complaints as ‘smears’ and ‘fake’. This conduct may target Jewish members as deliberately making up antisemitism complaints to undermine the Labour Party, and ignores legitimate and genuine complaints of antisemitism in the Party. These comments went beyond simply describing the agents’ own personal experience of antisemitism in the Party.
Corbyn's statement has this passage:
One antisemite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.
Best case scenario: Corbyn meant that the scale of how people had spoken about the cases was dramatically overstated rather than the scale of the cases, and is an idiot for not thinking about how he'd phrased this in light of the EHRC report's findings.
Worst case scenario: He still thinks there wasn't a major problem after everything, after the Labour Party under him has been found in breach of equality legislation.

The problem with assuming the best case scenario is that Corbyn's stubbornness and tetchiness seem to have come into play when challenged on it. There's reports that Rayner called and urged him to apologise and issue a clarification, which he didn't do. Watch the clip here. He can't just say "I phrased it badly, I've retracted it and issued a better worded statement." He has to stick to it, and say "I've explained what I meant by it". There's other parts of his interviews yesterday which don't come across well either, such as the clip where he says he's "sorry that hurt was caused to anybody", and says he doesn't believe he failed to tackle antisemitism in the party (here). Again, this is on the day that Labour have been found to have breached equality legislation, with a specific part due to political interference from his office.

So let's say that we can't assume the best case. That isn't to say we can assume the worst case either, but his behaviour makes it extremely difficult to assume the best. The party's General Secretary has a situation where a agent of the party has just made comments about the scale of antisemitism in the Labour Party, which are open to a damaging interpretation. Bear in mind that part of the EHRC recommendations are that there should be no political interference with these decisions, and that there was guidance given to the Governance and Legal Unit about how to decide whether to place members on administrative suspension. Unfortunately this is either not available online, or my Google skills are lacking. I'm going to assume that this guidance has been applied to Corbyn's actions, and led to his suspension. Anything else would leave Labour open to repercussions, either from the EHRC (imagine ignoring recommendations on the day of the report), or from Corbyn's supporters (imagine it coming out they did this for factional reasons).

In short, he's an idiot or in denial. His actions have got him suspended and being investigated, he's not been expelled without process.
posted by MattWPBS at 9:35 AM on October 30 [3 favorites]


Plus, if you want an example of some of how some people are dealing with this, have a listen to Kerry-Anne Mendoza from The Canary on PM on Radio 4 yesterday around the 35-38 minute mark.

Towards the end she starts talking about a "tiny group of obscenely powerful people who have used their positions to launch a political assassination. Pro-Israel organisations who lodge complaints of antisemitism no matter how tenuous".

I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that.
posted by MattWPBS at 10:06 AM on October 30 [4 favorites]


And a Twitter clip of that part for anyone geo-blocked or similar from the BBC.
posted by MattWPBS at 10:12 AM on October 30 [1 favorite]


If you want to understand why this was possible in a left-wing party that holds itself out as being anti-racist. Just consider the way in which Lisa Nandy (shadow foreign secretary) described anti-Semitism yesterday. To be clear, this is someone not from the very left of the party, who accepts the outcome of the report and had time to prepare so this isn't an accidental gaffe - this is her considered position.

She said that anti-Semitism was a particular kind of racism, that it "punched up not down".

Now first, I want to make clear that she is trying to explain where it comes from, not justifying that position. I don't think that she's an anti-Semite (I personally don't even think that Jeremy Corbyn is but I also accept that most British Jews think otherwise). I still think it's incredibly clumsy to say and a perfect diagnostic tool for understanding the thought process.

First because "punching up" must mean that Jews as a group are powerful. Powerful enough that when members of a political party, one of the two mainstream parties in England, a party that has formed governments before and will do so again, level abuse at them, the direction of power is upwards. This is a religious group which has only half as many people in it as the Labour party has full members, less than 0.5% of the British population. So how powerful must you think they are before you could even conceive of this as punching up?

Second because it is not right for some kinds of prejudice to get this benefit of the doubt treatment but not others. It's got shades of the endless bollocks we had to hear over the years explaining away attitudes of the "white working class" to immigrants of various sorts. Maybe that was right strategically, maybe it is good politics to try and understand all prejudice and to combat it from a position of love for the sinner, but I can't help but notice that some prejudices do not get treated that way. We don't accept explanations of Islamophobia that start with "obviously this is wrong, but we have to understand where it comes from." or at least I don't. Again, I'm willing to be convinced that it is better politics and better for society to analyse and address all prejudices rather than write off the people that hold them as un-people but if we're going to do that as a society then we do have to be consistent. Do homophobes, Islamophobes, anti-Black racists all get the opportunity for us to "see their point of view" before we convince them of the error of their ways? Maybe it's good strategy but the idea makes me viscerally uncomfortable and if we're going to do that we either have to always do it or accept that we are creating different categories of acceptability for prejudice.

I also think that "cancel culture" is ridiculous and bad politics but we cannot take the position that some things are cancellable and others are not without taking a position that some prejudices are worse than others.

I also dislike how, again, in Livingstone's situation, people demanded the expulsion and repudiation of people of colour and Muslims for being tainted by antisemitism. There's no desire for outreach there, and I really don't see how it could come off as anything but white folks seeking to stymie outreach to communities of colour, without recourse or dialogue. This reminds me of critiques of "cancel culture", where refusing to maintain discourse and ostracizing people leads to an intensification of political extremism. If you exclude all Muslims and people of colour that accusers lash out at, and this becomes a nigh-universal pattern, then you will lose not just the votes, but also an opportunity to change minds on topics such as this.

Third, this is not an accurate characterisation of what happened in that case. Naz Shah recognised that what she had said was anti-Semitic, apologised, and then participated in a series of events with members of the Jewish community. Ken Livingstone, a white man, being disciplined by the party is not the best example of the expulsion of people of colour and Muslims from the party.

You "don't see how it could come off as anything but white folks seeking to stymie outreach to communities of colour, without recourse or dialogue" These communities are not subject peoples who have to be reached out to but full members of our society. Naz Shah - again, someone who apologised and who I don't think has any kind of further case to answer - is not some rube in need of outreach, she's an MP! Again, someone who has had the opportunity to consider what they said, discuss it with people from the affected community, and then make what I think was a well considered apology is not a good example of a merciless culture of "no second chances". Naz Shah, has since written some very thoughtful things about the historic parallels between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

I think the phrase "that accusers lash out at" in this context is somewhat infelicitous. Let's be clear, we cannot characterise objections to hate speech from elected officials and members of a political party as "lashing out".

I had a similar objection to a bunch of privately educated politicians going on the morning shows to talk about the attitudes of the "white working class" back when people were explaining away the rise of the BNP. It splits the population into rulers - who are accountable for what they say and believe and have therefore earned the right to be part of the conversation, and a great heaving mass of subject peoples who have to be listened to, indulged, and managed but can't be expected to justify what they believe. People do not want outreach, they want a share of political power.

Traditional Labour anti-racism is working-class driven, bottom-up, and profoundly dedicated to education. It owes, some have said, as much to communitarian traditions of self-improving Methodism as it does to Marx and that means "nothing but the best for the working class" including education and standards of conduct.

Most of the people expelled (rather than suspended or warned) by the party for anti-Semitism have been recusants who have essentially refused to submit to party discipline and recognise that they have said things which are not acceptable. Ironically they weren't as enamoured of democratic centralism as you might think from their political leanings.

Fourth because the distinction between racism that is punching up vs punching down is inherently wrong, even dangerous.

I understand the theoretical position that racism is prejudice plus power and that is a useful frame for thinking about the anti-Black racism which is such a hugely problematic part of British as well as American society. In that case it is useful in order to refute ridiculous claims of "reverse racism". It is theoretically sound in this case because the history is both entirely one-sided and ongoing. All the guilt and every watt of historical and contemporary comparative power lies with white people in this case. However there are limits to the applicability of this idea and it gets unstuck in analysing the severity of prejudices that take a different shape and leaves supposedly thoughtful people tying themselves into rhetorical knots over whether a particular prejudice "counts" as being racist.

Taken to its limit, it leads to the conclusion that that as soon as a given group is no longer materially worse off than average, all prejudice against them evaporates into the mist or at least it can no longer be analysed within the framework of racism. I will note that I think the ridiculous and profoundly distasteful discussion among American progressives about whether East Asians are sufficiently oppressed to "count" for the purposes of fighting prejudice in the context of education is precisely the kind of outcome this leads to.

It raises the question: just what do the average differences in actual or perceived wages wealth need to be before one can be racist and it be punching up? Maybe it's ok to be unpleasant to United or Reform Jews in Barnet or Bushey (The suburbs! Tory voters! Some of them have semi-detached houses and everything!) but not Stamford Hill Jews? Are they poor enough for prejudice against them to count? How deep do we need to get into British Jewish social micro-structure before we know when we're punching up rather than down? Maybe we need to see individual tax returns to determine against whom prejudice punches up rather than down?

There was an article about the successes of the Nigerian diaspora in the FT yesterday which matches my experience with my Nigerian friends. Could someone let me know if they're now successful enough that prejudice against them is no longer racist? Are we going to treat prejudice against high caste Hindu Asians differently than Muslim Asians. That is not a theoretical example, I have seen some pretty unpleasant comments prompted by the observation that there are a substantial number of the former on the Conservative front-bench and none of the latter.
posted by atrazine at 11:18 AM on October 30 [18 favorites]


All racism is punching down, that's inherent in the prejudice + power definition. And just because the effects of prejudice + power don't impact on outcomes in one sphere, doesn't mean that it no longer exists at all or that there's no impact in other areas.
posted by plonkee at 12:21 PM on October 30 [2 favorites]


I think in Atrazine's example power is understood interchangeable with money, when the two aren't totally interchangeable when we speak about prejudice.
posted by Braeburn at 1:36 PM on October 30


@UKMPtweets
The hashtag most used by Labour MPs in the last 24 hours was: #IStandWithJeremyCorbyn
8:09 PM · Oct 31, 2020·mpsontwitter.co.uk

posted by Joe in Australia at 6:04 AM on October 31


A decent summary from Peter Oborne here.
posted by fullerine at 7:34 AM on October 31 [1 favorite]


In what world would Peter Oborne be worth reading? The man spent his entire career carrying water for the Tory’s at the Telegraph, Mail and Spectator.
posted by DoveBrown at 8:24 AM on October 31


A decent summary from Peter Oborne here.

That's hardly the case. Middle East Eye describes itself as an independently funded online news organisation, but this article suggests that it's actually funded by Qatar. In any event, its editorial line has historically denied or diminished Jewish experiences of antisemitism, and Oborne and MEE have clearly failed to follow the most elementary journalistic standards with regards to this affair:

Here's another of their articles absolving Corbyn from just a few months ago, also written by Oborne, and here's the interview it's apparently based on. But from the EHRC report (ch. 5, Political interference in the handling of antisemitism complaints) we know that Corbyn was simply lying when he said
I had a very strong view in my office that I was not to be the judge, jury and decision-maker on each case. Any case that was brought to my attention - and some were, people wrote in and things like that - I didn't deal with it, I passed it straight on to the governance and legal unit.
In fact the report identifies 23 instances of political interference from Corbyn's office within the sample of seventy cases that they analysed, and it says the Labour Party told us that LOTO staff were involved in the handling of certain ‘politically sensitive’ antisemitism complaints. So MEE has what would appear to be a bombshell - proof that Corbyn was lying. And they've just ignored it, and instead changed their defense of Corbyn from Corbyn didn't interfere to Corbyn did interfere - but only to speed cases up!

I think it would be a particularly bad mistake to substitute a purported summary from an obscure and highly partisan online publication for reading the the actual report, or at least its conclusions. In that light, here's what the EHRC actually had to say about Corbyn's interference in antisemitic complaints:
We therefore find that the Labour Party’s practice or policy of political
interference in ‘politically sensitive’ complaints between March 2016 and May 2019, and the formal practice or policy of involving LOTO in antisemitism complaints in March–April 2018, amounted to unlawful indirect discrimination against its Jewish members, contrary to section 101(2)(a) and / or (d) of the Equality Act 2010.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:35 PM on October 31


The entire point of anti-semitism is to create a group which is considered a higher level, so that attacking them is "punching up" and so you, actually privileged cis Christian white guy in a country where Christianity is the actual state religion, can feel hard done by and attacked.
posted by jeather at 7:19 AM on November 1 [7 favorites]


Britain is the land that housed its Black and Brown workers in the top floors of a London tower block so that when that block burned down, the faces of the dead were dark. That building, that bonfire, was named after Francis Grenfell, a colonial commander who massacred people in Ireland and Africa – and now the descendants of his victims will be remembered forever under his surname. That is Britain, the land whose government threatens to send in the full might of the navy against desperate people boarding makeshift dinghies in search of safety. This is Britain, whose Muslim communities are surveilled to test their compliance with “British values”.

If you think “Oh well yes, but antisemitism is different, our political masters are enlightened and tolerant of Jews”, then you should know that our prime minister wrote a novel replete with antisemitic caricatures of hook-nosed businessmen. You should know that Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, once complained that America is ruled by a Jewish lobby. You should know that Alastair Campbell once designed a national election campaign depicting his Jewish opponents as Shylock, Fagin and flying pigs. To think that racism is alien to these shores is to know nothing of Britain; and to say that the Labour Party has always been antiracist is to insult every asylum-seeking child pushed to destitution by the calculated decisions the Blair government took to appease the rightwing press, to prove Labour could be as tough on the poor and the foreign as their opponents. My first political activity was volunteering at my synagogue’s drop-in centre for refugees made homeless by a British Labour government.


From Barnaby Raine, "Why I Stand With Jeremy Corbyn."

I chose this passage because it shows the anti-Corbyn campaign for what it is: a hypocritical crusade by a political and media establishment that is actually completely at home with racism and anti-semitism, targeting the most genuinely anti-racist party leader probably in British history.
posted by grobstein at 1:36 PM on November 3 [2 favorites]




Grobstein, there's literally just been an independent investigation into the Labour Party over the last few years, which has found that the Labour Party unlawfully breached equality legislation, and one of the problems has been the downplaying of the antisemitism issue as a factional battle.

Do you really want to start posting links to articles downplaying the seriousness of the problem?

The 'characteristic deep dive' you've linked makes great play of Livingstone and Bromley being the worst cases that the EHRC could find. In fact the report makes the point that these are two cases of harassment which the Labour Party is clearly legally responsible for, as they were acting as agents of the party. They also highlight 18 borderline cases, where it wasn't clear if the Labour Party was responsible for the content, or if the perpetrators were making antisemitic social media posts purely in a private capacity. Beyond that in the sample there is activity from ordinary members, which are outside the EHRC's remit (as the party is not legally responsible for them as agents or employees) In the conclusion to the section (page 32) they make it clear that they have "highlighted the range and volume of antisemitic conduct across the complaint sample". It also has 'satire' with the media quizzing him on Facebook posts from a regional councillor. I'll remind you that Livingstone was a member of Labour's NEC when he blamed antisemitism complaints on 'the Israel lobby'.

I just had a quick look at my sent items, and I personally submitted five complaints of antisemitism from Labour members on Twitter over eight weeks last year. This wasn't from going looking for them, it was from responses to posts like the Momentum video which sought to highlight the problem of antisemitic tropes such as 'the Rothschilds'. These were things like people excusing antisemitism because Jews need to take responsibility for Israel, complaints about antisemitism being funded by 'Soros money', or that complainants had been paid off by Israel. These were the people who I was able to identify as members of particular Labour CLPs in a few minutes.

Am I part of a "hypocritical crusade by a political and media establishment that is actually completely at home with racism and anti-semitism"?

It's real and the Labour Party failed to deal with it. Corbyn was in charge at the time, and has to carry some personal responsibility for this, especially as one of the key problems was political interference from his office.

All of this is to do with the actual goings on over the last few years, so let's talk address what has happened to Corbyn over the last week. He has been suspended by the Labour Party (in the form of the General Secretary) pending investigation, after responding to the EHRC report with a statement including a section which arguably downplayed the scale of the problem ("dramatically overstated for political reasons"). As that behaviour was one of the problems directly called out in the report, I don't think he left the Party much choice other than to investigate.

This has been done by the Party administration and disciplinary bodies, not the leadership. Starmer has not 'kicked out' Corbyn, in fact nobody has since he's been suspended, but Starmer has been extremely clear that he cannot intervene either way. Again, political intervention in antisemitism cases is one of the unlawful acts in the report. There seems to be this idea on the left that Starmer has either willingly breached one of the legally binding recommendations in the report on the day it was published, or will be willing to breach it shortly afterwards to override the process and lift Corbyn's suspension personally.
posted by MattWPBS at 3:39 AM on November 4 [8 favorites]


The left wing of Labour is not taking this well.

Last Friday: A meeting held by the left-wing Momentum organisation to demand Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party suspension be rescinded included an incendiary speech on “the Jewish Question” which suggested antisemitism “has been used as a diversionist weapon against the progressive forces”.

Of course antisemitism is a weapon: it's one directed against Jews. Whenever I hear someone claiming that antisemitism is being weaponised I know that they don't actually care about Jew-hatred. And it's really frightening to encounter someone using the phrase "the Jewish Question" in this era.

On Monday, London Young Labour issued a statement that said while they "welcome and fully accept the EHRC report recommendations", they stand by [Corbyn], as he has inspired so many young people to become activists, campaigners, and trade unionists, and has advanced the cause of socialism in the Labour Party, and we support calls for him to be immediately reinstated.

They can't have it both ways: either they accept the report that says Labour under Corbyn was antisemitic, or they don't. Cobyn denies that the report is correct; why do they demand that he be readmitted under these circumstances?

And last night, a virtual meeting supported by Corbyn and attended by his wife heard from Jo Bird, whom I thought had been suspended for her joke about "Jew process": Labour councillor Jo Bird said: "I worry about privileging the racism faced by Jewish communities in this country as more worthy of resources than other forms of discrimination - such as against black people, Palestinians, Muslims and refugees."

There are many more things I could have linked, but that's a taste of it. Basically, the Labour left is in full denial mode and wants antisemitism to be consequence-free - not just Corbyn's, but everyone from Chris Williamson down.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:31 PM on November 5 [3 favorites]


"I worry about privileging the racism faced by Jewish communities in this country as more worthy of resources than other forms of discrimination - such as against black people, Palestinians, Muslims and refugees."

"All lives matter".
posted by MattWPBS at 1:44 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's basically how I read it. And it's been that way for a long time, at least since a group consisting mostly of Corbyn and his colleagues tried to have Holocaust Memorial Day renamed "Genocide Memorial Day - Never Again For Anyone". That was in 2011, but obviously his involvement with similar events goes back much further.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:03 AM on November 7 [3 favorites]




Or not.

Feels even better, tbh.
posted by Grangousier at 3:22 AM on November 18


Good for Starmer. I have to admit I'm surprised. Maybe it's not going to he business as usual after all.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:25 AM on November 18


Still feels great tbh, somehow the whole thing getting more farcical
posted by Cezar Golescu at 9:28 AM on November 18


I don't find it funny at all and I'm shocked that you do.

The Labour Party was found to have broken the law. That's really bad. It did so under Corbyn's watch, although it wasn't a verdict on Corbyn per se. The EHRC's report and the legally-mandated requirements imposed by it have a lot of consequences for Labour, both regarding its liability towards staff members and others whom it injured, and perhaps more importantly whether it is to be a modern, civilised, liberal political party.

What Labour needed to do was what Starmer did: acknowledge the gravity of the report and agree to take action. All that Corbyn, justly relegated to the back benches, had to do was keep his mouth shut. But he just couldn't. He had to go and undermine the Leader with yet more of his pathetic wishy-washy good-people-on-both-sides self-justifying equivocation. In that, he's more like Trump than any other UK politician. By doing this he not only harmed the Jewish community further, he exposed the Party to further legal liability. It was absolutely right that he be suspended; I don't think the Party had any choice. But now he's been un-suspended, less than three weeks after the report and under the same internal regime which the EHRC found unfit for purpose. Goodness knows what consequence this will have for Labour, which has been served with an Unlawful Act Notice and is required to respond by December 10th - coincidentally, another three weeks away.

There has been a lot of support from Corbyn from, e.g., the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs. I can't see any way that the Party can be legally compliant while they dominate its reaction to this crisis. This is going to be the rock that breaks the Labour Party: many people nominally of the Left believe their fraternal relationship with Jew-haters is more important than anything else. I suppose it's a good thing that all this virulent matter is at last coming out but at the end of the day the Labour Party is going to be very much diminished, or "the nasty party", or both.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:04 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


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