A new study by a British academic concludes that the Labour party is “institutionally anti-Semitic” and that eradicating the hateful ideology from the party will be tougher than previously thought.
The 137-page report was published Thursday in Fathom journal, which purports to champion a “bi-partisan debate about Israel and the region.” Written by Prof. Alan Johnson, it details and studies 130 examples of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitism denial within the UK’s main opposition party.
Johnson is a senior research fellow at the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) and editor of Fathom.
The report says the scale of anti-Jewish bias in the party has been underestimated, and that it has “failed to understand contemporary anti-Semitism, failed to prevent the party becoming a host to anti-Semitism, failed to effectively tackle anti-Semitism, and failed to root out a culture of anti-Semitism denial and victim-blaming.”
It accuses party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters of “stalking party members online and spreading a trolling and bullying culture.”
The report also criticized what was described as anti-Semitism dressed up as anti-Zionism.
“History tells us that anti-Semitism changes over time, ever-changing euphemisms marking the Jew for destruction,” it says. “Today, the euphemism is, very often, ‘Zionist’ or ‘Zio’ or ‘Global Zionism.’ The new anti-Semites write, talk and tweet as if what the demonized ‘Jew’ once was in the old anti-Semitism, demonized Israel or ‘Zionism’ now is.
“I hope this report is a wake-up call to the party’s high command: end the culture of anti-Semitism denial and victim-blaming, face up to your failure, put yourselves to school about contemporary anti-Semitism, and drive the haters out of the party before the party splits and anti-Semitic discourse turns into anti-Jewish violence,” Johnson said in a statement.
“At best, the Labour leadership are unforgivably complacent, saying the party has to deal only with a ‘tiny fringe.’ At worst, they spread anti-Semitic discourse by claiming it is all a ‘smear campaign.’ The report shows by the sheer weight of examples that both claims are untrue,” he added.
Labour has been rocked by charges of anti-Semitism in its ranks since the hard-left Corbyn became head of the opposition party in 2015, with Corbyn himself also facing such accusations — which he has denied.
Nine Labour MPs quit the party last month, many of them citing anti-Semitism within the party.
Editor’s note: This report originally misidentified Prof. Alan Johnson as former Labour minister Alan Johnson, a different individual.