Antisemitism problems are persisting in the Labour Party, including in the capital, as a Haringey Labour Councillor has told Tottenham’s Constituency Labour Party to drop a “zero-tolerance” clause from an antisemitism motion it was debating. Meanwhile in Brent and Harrow, a defender of Ken Livingstone missed out on being selected as its candidate for the London Assembly by merely five votes.
Noah Tucker, who is a councillor on Haringey’s local council, proposed an amendment to a motion on antisemitism that would remove a clause in the motion that stated that the branch should adopt “a zero tolerance position” on antisemitism and that would remove another clause that provided that a failure to address antisemitism claims adequately “leads to a perception of complacency and collusion with antisemitism that is not without foundation”.
The amendment also stated that the Party’s disciplinary process should not be supervised by an independent organisation, and that “it is not antisemitic…to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist because of their discriminatory impact”, an apparent reference to the International Definition of Antisemitism, which lists “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” as an example of antisemitism.
A spokesman for the local MP, David Lammy, said that he “unequivocally rejects this amendment and stands by the Jewish Labour members who spoke out against it in the meeting”.
Last year, Cllr Tucker, who was formerly the cabinet member for corporate services and insourcing until the position was abolished last year, reportedly defended the disgraced former Labour MP Chris Williamson.
Meanwhile, in Brent and Harrow, a controversial candidate — Aghileh Djafari-Marbini — narrowly missed out on being selected to stand for the London Assembly in the area, which is one of the safest Labour seats in the city. Ms Marbini received 619 votes, whereas her opponent received 624.
Ms Djafari-Marbini has been endorsed by John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, local MPs Tulip Siddiq and Barry Gardiner, a frontbencher in Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet, and Apsana Begum, a controversial new Labour MP who accused Tony Blair of spreading “Zionist propaganda” and who claimed that the leaders of Saudia Arabia were “inspired by Zionist masters”.
Ms Djafari-Marbini has reportedly defended the former disgraced Liberal Democrat MP David Ward, who has a long history of commenting about Jews, the Holocaust and Israel. She also reportedly shared an article that defended the image over which the Labour MP Naz Shah was suspended and which she acknowledged was antisemitic, defended Ken Livingstone, and said that Labour’s antisemitism crisis is a “smear”.
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In the first release of its Antisemitism in Political Parties research, Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that Labour Party candidates for Parliament in the 2019 general election accounted for 82 percent of all incidents of antisemitic discourse by parliamentary candidates.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.