Jewish Labour Movement gives evidence to EHRC antisemitism probe

Source: Jewish news
The Jewish Labour Movement has submitted its final report to the statutory body investigating Labour over Jew hatred, arguing that the Party is “legally responsible for endemic, institutional antisemitism”.

JLM’s submission was made to the Equality and Human Rights Council (EHRC), which last year launched a statutory investigation under Section 20 and Schedule 2 of the Equality Act 2006.

The report alleges that information was passed by USB stick between Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s office and the investigating units, despite the required independence of the latter.

The investigation has sought to determine whether Labour has carried out “unlawful acts” in relation to Jewish members, applicants or associates, which JLM – an official affiliate – argues that it has under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

JLM said there was “overwhelming evidence that antisemitic conduct is pervasive at all levels of the Party” and noted that verbal abuse was commonplace, comparing phrases such as “Zio” and “dirty Zionist” to “Kike” and “Yid”.

The EHRC investigation has focused on the Party’s response to a sample of complaints of alleged unlawful acts that have taken place since 11 March 2016, but JLM said their evidence “shows the rapid escalation of antisemitic behaviour from 2015-16 onwards”.

Aiming at the leadership, JLM said Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell “are comfortable participating on platforms where antisemitic content is routinely shared… the most base and shocking imagery is being posted on these platforms”.

Among the allegations in JLM’s submission was that Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) up and down the country had “attempted to deter and exclude Jews”.

Lawyers representing JLM, including James Libson, a partner at the Mishcon de Reya law firm, said examples submitted to the EHRC included evidence of party members’ improper involvement in internal antisemitism investigations.

“There has been interference and that interference has unfortunately become institutional,” said Libson.

“Institutional in the sense that people affiliated with the leader’s office – and now in the actual unit that are investigating – and that at a more basic level, information is passing between the leader’s office and investigating unit… by USB sticks, by WhatsApp groups, secret WhatsApp groups”.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey said Labour had “toughened up” its approach, “having been too slow and too weak at the start,” adding that this included “an in-house lawyer, special appeal panels to deal with complaints, and new fast-track expulsion powers”.