Documents refuting claims by Britain’s Labour party that it is adequately dealing with rampant anti-Semitism within the party have been leaked and were reported Sunday, days before the country’s general election.
The leaked files from the main UK opposition party’s internal disciplinary department show that many Labour members, several of whom had called for the extermination of all Jews, remained in the party for months and even over a year and were given a lenient punishment or none at all, according to The Sunday Times.
Jewish groups and others have rung alarm bells over the prospects of party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s promotion to No. 10 Downing Street with increasing distress as the December 12 British election has approached, accusing the far-left politician of allowing a massive rise in anti-Semitism within the ranks of the party, and of being anti-Semitic himself.
While Corbyn has repeatedly claimed that the issue of anti-Semitism was being dealt with in a serious and swift manner, a leaked internal recording from October showed that there were more than 130 outstanding cases, despite the vast majority of them having been reported 18 months prior to that, the report said. One such case has not been ruled upon for more than three years.
Some of the cases involve Labour members calling for the “extermination of every Jew on the planet” and labeling them “bent nose manipulative liars.”
It reportedly took the party more than ten months to expel a staffer from Nottingham who last year said that “Jews represent a viral infection that need to be completely eliminated” and added that he wanted the “complete extinction of all Jews.”
The party refused to say whether it had referred that case to the police.
Also in 2018, a member from Birmingham called for drowning all Jews in the Red Sea since they are “a cancer on us all,” explaining that there was “no need for gas chambers anyway gas is so expensive and we need it in England.” He was only expelled more than eight months later.
Other cases included Labour members blaming the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and IRA terrorism on Jews, and saying the family of former Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge were “rancid” and “all in it together… the family of Israel.”
The document show that half of 100 cases dealt with between the summer of 2018 and May, 2019 ended with no action taken or with just a warning, the report said. Some members were ordered to attend diversity training — which Labour has not set up.
The cases that reportedly went unpunished included members denying and distorting the Holocaust, sharing news stories about “a Jewish agenda to obtain the conquest of the gentile world,” and saying it is justified to have a “dim view of the Jews.”
“This reduces to rubble my party’s claim that anti-Semitism in the party is being dealt with,” commented former Labour MP Dame Louise Ellman, who recently quit the party after 55 years.
“It is beyond belief that members can make statements of Holocaust denial and call for Jews to be completely exterminated yet remain in the party for months or years or receive a mere slap on the wrist,” she added.
Responding to the Times’ article, Labour argued that the number of outstanding cases cited was “categorically untrue” and added that offenders would now be expelled within weeks after a new fast-track procedure was introduced by Corbyn.
“This is proof of the robust action the party is taking to root out anti-Semitism. No other party has introduced rapid expulsion processes,” it said.
Also Sunday, it was reported that the Simon Wiesenthal Center had named Corbyn as its the top anti-Semitic person or event for 2019, warning that Britain would become a “pariah” if it elects the hard-left leader.
“No one has done more to mainstream antisemitism into the political and social life of a democracy than the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, the head of the US-based Nazi-hunting group, told the British Daily Mail, which reported the story and dedicated an entire page to it.
“If Jeremy Corbyn wins, he will make Britain a pariah on the world stage,” Hier said. “To have a person seeking the highest office who ignored anti-Semitism for years, who did everything in his power to encourage it is shocking.”
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It was not the first time Corbyn has found himself on the annual list, which also includes anti-Israel events. In 2016, Labour anti-Semitism under Corbyn was listed as No. 2 by the Center, behind the US abstention on a UN vote on West Bank settlements. In 2017, Labour anti-Semitism placed 10th and last year Corbyn was listed as No. 4.
The list is normally published in late December or early January, indicating that the earlier release may have been timed to come out ahead of the upcoming UK vote.
Corbyn’s placement on the list puts him ahead of John Earnest, a far-right gunman accused of opening fire inside a California synagogue in April, killing one.
Labour responded by calling the ranking “ridiculous and grossly offensive” and adding: “Putting Jeremy Corbyn at the head of a list containing neo-Nazi synagogue shooters is a transparent political attack and has nothing to do with tackling antisemitism.”
On Thursday, a dossier from the Jewish Labour Movement accused Corbyn of personally engaging in anti-Semitism in nine separate cases.
The accusation was featured in a damning 53-page report filed to a body tasked with probing anti-Semitism within the UK’s main opposition party.
Thousands of cases of alleged hate speech against Jews have been recorded within Labour since 2015, when Corbyn was elected to lead it. The party is currently being formally investigated by the UK’s anti-racism watchdog.
Corbyn has insisted that he is not anti-Semitic and his party has dealt with the problem. Last week, he said he was “sorry for everything that has happened” regarding the ongoing tensions between his Labour Party and the British Jewish community, after earlier refusing to say so when repeatedly asked by the BBC’s Andrew Neil.
Last month, Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis took an unprecedented stand urging voters to see the “new poison” that has taken root in the party, and expressing fear for the fate of Jews in the country should Corbyn become prime minister.
Much of the worry over Corbyn is spurred by revelations about his record that have emerged since he became Labour leader. These include him describing Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”; defending an anti-Semitic mural in East London; and a seeming willingness to associate with alleged anti-Semites, terrorists, and Holocaust-deniers.
The Britain Elects poll aggregator has put the Conservatives on 42 percent, Labour on 33 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 13 percent.
Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the snap election — the third in Britain in nearly five years — last month to try to get a parliamentary majority which would enable him to secure backing for his Brexit deal.
Agencies contributed to this report.