Antisemitism complaints received since April 2018 are 0.1 per cent of our Labour Party membership but unfortunately The Jewish Labour Movement have no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn.
After ‘strong speeches’ from Margaret Hodge, Ruth Smeeth and Louise Ellman, the motion passed, ‘almost unanimously’, the group said
Ahead of the vote, Shami Chakrabarti, the Shadow Attorney General, urged JLM members not to “personalise” the party’s antisemitism row, saying Mr Corbyn “is one person and he won’t be leader forever”.
“My plea to the Jewish Labour Movement is to stay in the Labour movement and to tackle racism together, not to personalise it and make it about Jeremy Corbyn, because he is one person and he won’t be leader forever,” Chakrabarti told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
In response to the no confidence motion, a Labour spokesperson said the party and Mr Corbyn are “fully committed to the support, defence and celebration” of the Jewish community.
The spokesman added: “Antisemitism complaints received since April 2018 relate to about 0.1 per cent of our membership, but one antisemite in our party is one too many. We are determined to tackle antisemitism and root it out of our party.”
Prior to the AGM, Peter Mason, JLM’s national secretary, stated on Sky News that Jewish Labour members were weighing up a vote to officially disaffiliate from the party.
It came hours after the Sunday Times published a report alleging that Labour have failed to resolve more than half of 863 complaints of antisemitism against its members – with investigations yet to be launched in 28 per cent of cases.
Of that story, a Labour spokesperson said:
“These figures are not accurate,” adding: “Lines have been selectively leaked from emails to misrepresent their overall contents.”
Tom Watson, a leading member of the Labour Friends of Israel said: “I hear the message the Jewish Labour Movement and the Jewish community are sending our party. We have utterly failed to deal with antisemitism in our ranks. It’s unacceptable and shameful.“I reiterate my personal commitment as deputy leader to use all my powers to rid our party of this scourge.”
The development came as sources close to the leader and senior sources elsewhere in the party were at loggerheads over the accuracy of figures cited by the Sunday Times, which reported that Corbyn’s office had been involved in approving, delaying or blocking at least 101 complaints of antisemitism.
Out of 863 complaints, 454 were said to be unresolved, including 249 where the party had not started an investigation. Out of 409 cases where a decision was reached, 191 members faced no further action, 145 received a formal warning and fewer than 30 were expelled.
Sources close to the leader’s office said that the figures had existed on a spreadsheet document but that they were inaccurate. The 101 figure was said to be a “massive overstatement”.
Labour party membership currently stands at around 600,000 plus affiliated members.
Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby facts and figures. showing the progress that had been made in streamlining the process following complaints, making it quicker, fairer and more effective.
Approximately 1,100 complaints were lodged between April 2018 and January 2019, but 433 (nearly 40 per cent) were found to relate to non-Labour Party members, which brought it down to 673. (That still leaves a problem in wider society though.)
Of those complaints there was no evidence of a case to answer in 220 of those complaints, and we can speculate that those accusations were either wildly exaggerated or vexatious.
That still leaves more than 400 members (out of approximately 550,000 — so around 0.07 per cent) who had expressed views concerning Jews that were judged as requiring further investigation and disciplinary action.
Some received suspensions, others formal/written warnings about their behaviour, while just 12 were expelled.
The PLP agitators on this felt this was much too small a number of expulsions but on the basis of the Chakrabarti recommendations that expulsion should be a last rather than first resort, and that education should be the preferred response — to me that is a positive outcome.
There are 24 cases that have reached the highest panel that remain outstanding, so that expulsion figure may well rise but not dramatically.
There were two other statistics that seem important from Formby’s exemplary response: one is that 44 members quit Labour while their hearing was pending. That suggests that Labour is not at all a hospitable or comfortable place for anti-semites. They knew they would be found out and they jumped before being pushed out.
The other statistic relates to Margaret Hodge — who has been leading a crusade on this matter. She had personally submitted 200 of the complaints, but these were not 200 separate individuals.
They concerned 111 people, and 91 of them — 91 out of 111 — turned out not to be members of the Labour Party.
So, the 20 Labour Party members with a case to answer notwithstanding, Hodge was one of those most responsible for false and exaggerated claims against the Labour Party over anti-semitism. Now why am I not surprised?
Who are Jewish Labour Movement
It views Zionism as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. Its aim is to promote “a secure, progressive, just and successful State of Israel”. It campaigns against racism generally and seeks to promote a viable peace plan to the Israel-Palestine conflict. With regard to the latter it upholds the rights of the Palestinian people to live at peace with their neighbours on the basis of a two-state solution
Aims and membership
The organization’s aim is “To organise and maintain a political movement of Jewish people within the UK Labour Party and the international labour movement.” Members are not required to be Jewish or Labour Party members but are expected to share its objects and values, including:
“To maintain and promote Labour or Socialist Zionism as the movement for self-determination of the Jewish people within the state of Israel” and “To promote the centrality of Israel in Jewish life and its development on the basis of freedom, social justice and equality for all its citizens.