Britain - Antisemitism in political parties

Source: CAA
Campaign Against Antisemitism is today publishing the 29 case files from our database of more than 300 entries. The research, which is available now on our website examines involvement in antisemitic discourse by all parliamentary candidates and party leaders.

The research shows that Jeremy Corbyn is personally responsible for 24 incidents, which is equal to fifteen percent of all recorded incidents involving parliamentary candidates and party leaders. This means that, if Jeremy Corbyn were a political party, the ‘Jeremy Corbyn party’ would be responsible for almost four times more incidents than all the other major parties combined.

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Moreover, far from investigating and eliminating antisemitism, Jeremy Corbyn is injecting more of it into Parliament, as 36 percent of incidents across all political parties were committed by Labour’s new candidates, who have not been MPs before.

Overall, Labour Party candidates for Parliament account for 82 percent of all incidents.

Our Antisemitism in Political Parties project is the most comprehensive long-term analysis of antisemitism among the officers of political parties ever undertaken in Britain. It examines officers from party leaders down to those who chair constituency branches of parties, and will be maintained as an online resource indefinitely, for use by journalists, researchers and the public. The project’s core aim is to assess how Britain’s political parties deal with antisemitism, and to publicly display a full ongoing record of antisemitic incidents in all parties. 

The project was set up by and is supervised by academics, and uses a strict methodology. A permanent dedicated team at Campaign Against Antisemitism researches and chronicles social media, discourse at events and reports from the public and the media, using a variety of techniques. For any individual who has been responsible for an antisemitic act since January 2013, it analyses the full history of that individual’s antisemitism, numbers the incidents themselves, gives a full analysis of how they qualify as antisemitic acts, and then details the outcomes in terms of reactions and media reports. Finally, Campaign Against Antisemitism gives a traffic light verdict on how the party to which those individuals belong have dealt with the incident. 

Incidents are strictly defined as either breaches of the International Definition of Antisemitism, or dissemination and/or endorsement of such breaches by others. Incidents are verified and linked to sources, and requests for comment sent to the individuals concerned, making it an invaluable go-to resource for journalists. Incidents are attributed to the parties where the individual was a member when they took place. Finally, statistical analysis is applied, analysing the proportion of individuals and incidents by each party and individual.

We have included only current parliamentary candidates and party leaders. We have excluded those individuals who were fully adopted by their parties as parliamentary candidates but who, in the last few weeks, have been withdrawn because of a public outcry after previous antisemitic acts were revealed and are no longer candidates. These include seven Labour, two Conservative, one SNP and one Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidates. Among those excluded are candidates such as Safia Ali in Falkirk, who was withdrawn by the Labour Party so late that her name will still be on the ballot paper alongside Labour’s logo. 

Furthermore, because of our strict methodology, individuals who have come to the public’s attention who are of concern to the Jewish community — for example, those who enthusiastically endorsed the disgraced former MP Chris Williamson or Ken Livingstone — are not currently included. These presently number a further eleven cases.

Joe Glasman, Head of Political and Government Investigations at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “This research project began in 2015 and is still ongoing. The release today of 29 case files, covering MPs and Parliamentary candidates, now available on our website, makes for disturbing reading. Jeremy Corbyn cannot possibly claim to be ‘dealing’ with the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party when he has more recorded antisemitic acts to his name than any other candidate. Moreover, far from eliminating antisemitism in politics, the Labour Party has fielded a cohort of new candidates who already account for over a third of acts of antisemitism themselves. Our regrettable conclusion is that Labour’s antisemitism crisis is likely to get even worse in the coming years.”

Yesterday, thousands of Jews and non-Jews attended a star-studded national rally in Parliament Square to stand #TogetherAgainstAntisemitism. Speakers included barrister and television presenter Robert Rinder; award-winning actress and columnist Tracy Ann Oberman; acclaimed historian Tom Holland; the president of the Hindu Forum of Britain, Trupti Patel; and the founder of Muslims Against Antisemitism, Fiyaz Mughal OBE, who said: “Britain is not Britain without Jews.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right, and that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is the party leader of choice for those who hold multiple antisemitic views.

On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.

Over 58,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”