The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee today publishes its report following its inquiry into the rise of antisemitism in Britain.
We could not have said it better ourselves: we are pleased to see that the Select Committee has listened to Campaign Against Antisemitism and that the report firmly endorses measures we have been calling for for two years.
The Select Committee’s rigorous report is uncompromising on the rise in antisemitism and the danger it presents. It directly accuses the enablers of growing antisemitism, including social networks, those on the far-left who allow vile Jew hatred to masquerade as political discourse, and the student leaders who have abandoned Jewish students.
The report makes the following key recommendations, which endorse our own:
- The international definition of antisemitism used by the College of Policing, the European Parliament, the US Department of State and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance “should be formally adopted by the UK Goverment, law enforcement agencies and all political parties”. We have called for this since we launched our five point plan in 2015 and our manifesto for fighting antisemitism in political parties last month, and we repeated this in submissions to the Select Committee.
- Use of “the word ‘Zionist’ (or worse, ‘Zio’) as a term of abuse has no place in a civilised society…[and] this should be communicated by the Government and political parties”.
- Police forces should improve the consistency and accuracy with which antisemitic crime is recorded and investigated, noting that “we question why police forces operating in counties in which thousands of Jewish people live, have recorded few or no antisemitic crimes”. This echoes the findings of our National Antisemitic Crime Audit, released earlier this year.
- “The Government, police and prosecuting authorities must…pursue a robust, zero-tolerance approach to this problem”. We are very pleased by this recommendation, which has been at the core of our message since Campaign Against Antisemitism was formed in 2014.
- Social networks are acting as a “deplorable…inert host for vast swathes of antisemitic hate speech and abuse” and must “significantly expand its enforcement remit to include proactive identification of abusive users”. We have called for this privately in meetings with social networks, and publicly when they failed to cooperate.
- Police forces should appoint a “dedicated hate crime officer” so that “individuals reporting hate crime…have a single point of contact”. We called for this in our National Antisemitic Crime Audit, released earlier this year.
- The National Union of Students and its President should reverse their damaging antisemitic comments and the removal of Jewish students’ rights to choose their own representative. We have called for this repeatedly, along with others.
The report also finds that Jeremy Corbyn has shown a “lack of consistent leadership” has created a “‘safe space’ for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people” in the Labour Party. The Select Committee was evidently disgusted by Ken Livingstone’s claims that Adolf Hitler “supported Zionism” as well as Shami Chakrabarti’s whitewash report into antisemitism in the Labour Party. The Select Committee additionally criticises the handling of antisemitism in the Liberal Democrat Party and National Union of Students.
The Select Committee’s report quotes extensively from Campaign Against Antisemitism’s research and recognises that antisemitism in Britain has reached a tipping point. The report makes recommendations which endorse the measures we have called for and must be urgently implemented.
Our only criticism of the report is that it is not sufficiently condemnatory of the Crown Prosecution Service whose response to antisemitism has been utterly deplorable. 15,442 cases of hate crime were prosecuted last year, but we know of only 12 prosecutions for antisemitic hate crime. In the same year, antisemitic crime in the UK reached a record high, rising 26% with antisemitic violence leaping by 51%, yet charging dropped. The Director of Public Prosecutions is presiding over an abject failure to crack down on antisemitism.
As Jews once again leave Europe and antisemitism is rising with chilling celerity in Britain, it is absolutely right that the Select Committee has endorsed the measures we have called for. They must now be swiftly implemented: the international definition of antisemitism must be universally adopted and applied — including in political parties — and the authorities must enforce the law against antisemitism with zero tolerance.