(July 11, 2019 / JNS) Eight former Labour officials told the BBC that party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team “interfered in the complaints process for incidents of alleged anti-Semitism, on some occasions processing them from his Westminster office,” reported The Financial Times.
The BBC profiled the anti-Semitism problem in Labour in its TV program “Panorama.”
The insiders—seven of whom worked in Labour’s complaints and disputes department—said there has been a huge increase in complaints about anti-Semitism since Corbyn became party leader in 2015.
Seumas Milne, Corbyn’s director of communications, wrote in a March 2018 email that the review process for complaints should be evaluated.
“Something’s going wrong, and we’re muddling up political disputes with racism,” he stated. “I think going forward we need to review where and how we’re drawing the line.”
The-then head of the Labour disputes team, Sam Matthews, replied: “This is not a helpful suggestion, it is an instruction.”
“For as long as Labour is in Jeremy Corbyn’s grip, it cannot be a force for good.”
Labour remarked that the BBC selectively quoted Milne in that the party said the full sentence of his email began with, “But if we’re more than very occasionally using disciplinary action against Jewish members for anti-Semitism, something’s going wrong … ”
Another former head of the Labour disputes team, Mike Creighton, told “Panorama” that when he asked Milne how to respond to anti-Semitism complaints, “he actually laughed at me,” mentioning to Creighton that Corbyn supports Israel’s existence and a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The BBC also obtained emails, including from Labour general secretary Jennie Formby, who attempted to interfere in the case of fellow Corbyn supporter Jackie Walker, who was investigated for being anti-Semitic.
“The NCC [the National Constitutional Committee that looks after Labour disciplinary matters] cannot be allowed to continue in the way that they are at the moment, and I will also be challenging the panel for the Jackie Walker case,” wrote Formby.
Labour told the BBC that “at all levels [it] is implacably opposed to anti-Semitism,” and seeks to remove the “social cancer” from the party and humanity.
In a statement, the U.K.-based Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said the BBC exposed what the group had been saying about the party and its leader.
“It was heartbreaking to watch the testimony of honourable lifelong Labour officials contemplating suicide and suffering breakdowns because of the actions of Mr. Corbyn and his team,” said CAA chief executive Gideon Falter. “This testimony will add significant weight to the statutory investigation that the Equality and Human Rights Commission is undertaking following our referral.”
“The charade of Jeremy Corbyn as an anti-racist activist has been blown apart,” he continued. “Mr. Corbyn’s support for anti-Semites and his team’s protection of anti-Semites demonstrate that Mr. Corbyn himself is an anti-Semite who is unfit to hold any public office, including that of Leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition. For as long as the Labour Party is in Jeremy Corbyn’s grip, it cannot be a force for good.”