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Leaked report reveals rival factions within UK’s Labour used antisemitism as ‘weapon’

Former Britain's Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the media on the coronavirus, outside the Finsbury Park Jobcentre, in north London, March 15, 2020. (Hollie Adams/PA via AP)
Former Britain's Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the media on the coronavirus, outside the Finsbury Park Jobcentre, in north London, March 15, 2020. (Hollie Adams/PA via AP)

Antisemitism was weaponized by both right and left-wing camps within UK’s Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, according to a leaked report published in British media.

The 138-page report by Queen’s Counsel Martin Forde found deep distrust and factional differences distracted the two sides of the party, impeding their ability to deal with antisemitism in their ranks and build an effective opposition at elections, The Guardian reports.

Forde charged that Corbyn supporters believed accusations of antisemitism to be exaggerated, while opponents of the former leader viewed the problem “as a means of attacking him.”

“Thus, rather than confront the paramount need to deal with the profoundly serious issue of antisemitism in the party, both factions treated it as a factional weapon,” Forde concludes.

UK Labour chair Keir Starmer, who succeeded Corbyn requested the investigation in April 2020, after a leaked 860-page report concluded that no current or former staff were “motivated by anti-Semitic intent” and was said to have found “no evidence” of anti-Semitism complaints being treated differently from other forms of complaint.

The probe says there was a lack of “robust processes, systems, training, education, and effective line management” and claimed to have found “abundant evidence of a hyper-factional atmosphere prevailing in Party HQ” toward Corbyn which “affected the expeditious and resolute handling of disciplinary complaints.”

However, Forde’s report argued that the issue was also present in the former opposition leader’s office, as supporters believed allegations of antisemitism were designed “simply as an attack on the leader and his faction.”

“In simple terms, each faction believed the other had ‘started it’ when it came to obstructionist behavior and that they were only responding in kind.”

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