Europe

Labour MPs Demand that Party Leadership Release Data on how It Handles Anti-Semitism

Lawmakers of Britain’s Labour Party unanimously passed a motion on Monday evening, demanding that the organization’s National Executive Committee (NEC) provide detailed data in writing on the handling of anti-Semitic incidents in the party, Jewish News reported.

The motion, proposed by Labour MP Catherine McKinnell and seconded by her colleague Ruth Smeeth, called “on the party leadership to adequately tackle cases of anti-Semitism, as a failure to do so seriously risks anti-Semitism in the party appearing normalized and the party seeming to be institutionally anti-Semitic.”

The British newspaper, The Guardian, described the atmosphere at the meeting on Monday as “angry.”

The decision came after the NEC faced allegations last week of ignoring the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. The body has dismissed numerous complaints against members accused of breaching it.

The NEC is led by General Secretary Jenny Formby, a senior ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Several MPs, including Dame Margaret Hodge, Ruth Smeeth, and Catherine McKinnell, charged that Formby had covered up the figures for complaints received by the party’s institutions over anti-Semitic abuse and threats.

The General Secretary sparked fury at the meeting, when she told MPs that she was not answering to them. Formby added it was “impossible to eradicate” anti-Semitism and would be “dishonest to claim to be able to do so.”

One MP described her response to the passing of the motion as “disastrous.”

Dame Margaret said, “If you want to get rid of the cancer of antisemitism in the Labour Party you have to have complete transparency and she’s refusing to do that.” The veteran Labour MP called Corbyn an “anti-Semite and a racist” to his face in July.

In a joint statement, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews noted, “We welcome the decision of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) this evening to set a deadline to hold Jeremy Corbyn to account over antisemitism. Since our meeting with him on 24 April 2018, the party has not taken the necessary actions to rid itself of this racism.

“His lack of leadership has been extremely disappointing. We hope the PLP’s motion will push Labour to finally put in place the recommendations we discussed with Mr. Corbyn. If he is truly against antisemitism this is an opportunity to prove it, once and for all.”

[Photo: DAVID HOLT / Flickr ]