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Probe 'disgraces those who attacked us for speaking out'

UK Jewish groups: Anti-Semitism report is ‘damning verdict’ on Corbyn’s Labour

As watchdog finds Labour broke equality law through ‘inexcusable’ handling of anti-Semitism complaints, top groups say probe ‘proves why British Jews were so distressed’

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in Islington, north London, December 16, 2019. (Isabel Infantes/PA via AP)
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in Islington, north London, December 16, 2019. (Isabel Infantes/PA via AP)

UK Jewish groups on Thursday hailed as a “damning verdict” a government watchdog report that found that the Labour party had broken equality law through its “inexcusable” handling of anti-Semitism complaints under the leadership of former head Jeremy Corbyn.

“This report is a damning verdict on what Labour did to Jews under Jeremy Corbyn and his allies. It proves why British Jews were so distressed and it disgraces those who attacked us for speaking out against anti-Jewish racism,” said the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust in a joint statement.

“Our Jewish community never wanted this fight, but we had to defend ourselves and are proud to have done so. We thank all those who stood with us, despite the abuse they received as a result,” the statement read. “Jeremy Corbyn will rightly be blamed for what he has done to Jews and Labour, but the truth is more disturbing, as he was little more than a figurehead for old and new anti-Jewish attitudes. All of this was enabled by those who deliberately turned a blind eye.”

Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET), said the “damning report confirms all that has been said about the depths of the endemic anti-Jewish racism in the Labour party.”

Karen Pollock, chief executive of Holocaust Education Trust (courtesy)

“Holocaust denial, conspiracy theories and Jew hate are unacceptable in all walks of life, and certainly nobody expected it to fester in a political party founded on anti-racism, but it did,” Pollock said. “Today is not the end of this dark chapter, but an opportunity for the Labour Party to consign this shameful period to history, take responsibility and begin the journey back to any sort of morality.”

Meanwhile, the Jewish Labour Movement accused Corbyn of presiding over a “sordid, disgraceful chapter in the Labour Party’s history.”

Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain’s opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP Photo/Tolga Akmen)

Under the left-wing leadership of Corbyn, Britain’s main opposition Labour party broke equality law through its “inexcusable” handling of anti-Semitism complaints, a government watchdog said in a major report published Thursday.

The report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found damning instances where Corbyn’s former leadership team underplayed, belittled or ignored complaints by Jewish members, and sometimes actively interfered to support favored allies.

In one of his first acts on replacing Corbyn in April, new Labour leader Keir Starmer apologized to Britain’s Jewish community and he has vowed to accept whatever findings emerged from the two-year investigation by the EHRC.

“Our investigation has highlighted multiple areas where [Labour’s] approach and leadership to tackling anti-Semitism was insufficient,” the commission’s interim chair, Caroline Waters, said in presenting the 129-page report.

“This is inexcusable and appeared to be a result of a lack of willingness to tackle anti-Semitism rather than an inability to do so,” she said.

The commission said that under Corbyn, Labour was guilty of three breaches of Britain’s 2010 Equality Act for political interference in complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism cases and harassment of complainants.

But it stopped short of instituting legal proceedings, instead ordering Labour to draft an action plan by December 10 to remedy its failures.

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