Antisemitism in Political Parties

Jeremy Corbyn

2015-2020: Leader of the Labour Party

1983-present: Labour Member of Parliament for Islington North

2011-2015: Chairman, Stop the War Coalition

Patron, Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Incidents

  1. On 19th May 1984, the Labour Movement Conference on Palestine took place. Mr Corbyn was amongst those billed in advance as a speaker, and he is listed as a sponsor, and reportedly chaired the meeting. The second of the motions listed for the conference (all of which were, apparently, “agreed overwhelmingly”) [a] “Calls on Labour Movement bodies to press for the disaffiliation of Poale Zion [the former name of the Jewish Labour Movement] from the Labour Party.” Amongst the stated aims [b] (“Our Platform”), which includes the broad intention to “fight within the Labour Movement — and the Labour Party in particular — to eradicate Zionism…” are pledges which include “opposition to the Zionist state as racist…” and “opposition to the manifestation of Zionism in the Labour Movement and the Labour Party in particular.”
  1. On January 28th 2009, an article by Jeremy Corbyn was published in the Morning Star, in which he wrote that a decision by the BBC not to broadcast an appeal to send money to Gaza demonstrated the “unbelievably high levels of influence that Israel’s government appears to have in the upper echelons of parts of the media.” He continued: “How far an Obama administration is prepared to stand up to Israel and limit its control of US foreign policy is unclear.”
  1. On 3rd March 2009, at a Stop the War Coalition public meeting, Mr Corbyn made a speech in which, having begun by saying that it would behis “honour and pleasure” to host “our friends” from Hamas and Hezbollah in Parliament, he stated: “we are opposed to Zionism”, and went on to say: “What we’re in favour of is a Palestine where everyone can live; they can’t live if you’ve got Zionism…dominating it all.”
  1. On Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January 2010, Mr Corbyn reportedly hosted, chaired and gave the introductory speech at an event at Portcullis House on the parliamentary estate called “Never Again for Anyone–Auschwitz to Gaza”. The event was organised by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (an organisation with a heavily evidenced problem with antisemitism) in conjunction with the so-called International Jewish anti-Zionist Network (IJAN), of which the lead speaker at the event, Hajo Meyer, was a member. The event was part of a tour, which had apparently included three dates in Scotland, including one in Glasgow several days earlier, and one at Goldsmiths, University of London, the day before. Mr Meyer’s theme was summarised thus by the Glasgow Herald: “Auschwitz survivor: ‘Israel acts like Nazis’”. Meyer’s presentation included the claim that “Judaism has been replaced by Holocaust religion”, whose “high priest” he claimed was the Nobel laureate, Holocaust survivor and author, Elie Wiesel. The speaker also claimed that Zionists were dehumanising Palestinians in the same way as the Nazis dehumanised Jews; for example, through the infamous Nuremberg laws. It was confirmed that antisemitic tropes were openly on display in presentations during the event. The Portcullis House event which Mr Corbyn hosted was also addressed by phone from Gaza by a Palestinian activist, Mr Haidar Eid, who stated: “The world was absolutely wrong to think that Nazism was defeated in 1945. Nazism has won because it has finally managed to Nazify the consciousness of its own victims.”On account of the antisemitic content of the toured event, a Jewish activist sent Mr Corbyn e-mails in advance, warning him. This correspondence has been made available to Campaign Against Antisemitism by the activist in question. In the exchange, the activist asked Mr Corbyn: “Why are you hosting a meeting on Wednesday in the Boothroyd Room (Portcullis House), which will be a farrago of lies about Israel, will demonise Israel and may well contain elements of antisemitism?” Then, pointing out the deliberate offence that would certainly be caused by staging the event on Holocaust Memorial Day itself, the activist continued: “You are hosting a meeting in Parliament on Holocaust Memorial Day which will contain antisemitic references. What a disgrace.” Despite the event’s having already been on tour, making the case for a direct comparison between Israel’s behaviour and that of Nazi Germany, and despite being familiar with Mr Meyer’s work, Mr Corbyn replied: “How on earth do you know what will be said at a meeting yet to be held?” It is clear that Mr Corbyn, as Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Committee, and as someone who knew Mr Meyer already, will have understood the nature of the event in advance.It was also reported that Mr Corbyn, as chair of the event, told activists (including a Holocaust survivor), to be silent and listen to the antisemitic abuse, asking a police officer to remove those who protested at the meeting.
  1. On Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January 2011, John McDonnell and Mr Corbyn respectively proposed and seconded an Early Day Motion to the House of Commons calling for the word “Holocaust” in the name of Holocaust Memorial Day to be replaced with “Genocide”, thus removing its particular significance for Jews. The motion cites IJAN’s “Never Again for Anyone” initiative EDM#1360. The IJAN website reportedly claimed that their initiative is intended to challenge the “Zionist exploitation” of the Holocaust for “political purposes,” and stated: “The Zionist exploitation of this genocide to justify colonization, [sic] displacement and apartheid in Palestine is a dishonor [sic] to those who survived and those who did not.” It should be noted that Holocaust Memorial Day commemorates both the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
  1. On an unknown date in 2011, Mr Corbyn wrote the foreword to a reissue of J.A. Hobson’s 1902 work, Imperialism: A Study, in which, in a chapter entitled “Economic Parasites of Imperialism”, the author described “international capitalism” as “controlled…by men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them many centuries of financial experience”, before asking rhetorically: “Does anyone seriously suppose that a great war could be undertaken by any European state, or a great state loan subscribed, if the house of Rothschild and its connections set their face against it?” The author continues: “There is not a war, a revolution, an anarchist assassination, or any other public shock, which is not gainful to these men; they are harpies who suck their gains from every new forced expenditure and every sudden disturbance of public credit,” before describing how the direct influence supposedly exercised by these financial houses “is supported by the control which they exercise over the body of public opinion through the press”. In Mr Corbyn’s foreword, having already described the book as a “great tome” that was “brilliant, and very controversial at the time”, directly referencing Hobson’s discussion of what Mr Corbyn calls “the commercial interests that fuel the role of the popular press with tales of imperial might”, he goes on to call the analysis “correct and prescient.”
  1. On an unknown date in May 2011, Mr Corbyn gave an interview on Press TV, the Iranian government’s principal English-language propaganda channel, which regularly promulgates antisemitic conspiracy theories. He said: “There is pressure on the BBC from probably Mark Thompson [then the Director-General of the BBC], who seems to me to have an agenda in this respect. There seems to be a great deal of pressure on the BBC from the Israeli government and the Israeli embassy, and they are very assertive towards all journalists and to the BBC itself — they challenge every single thing on reporting the whole time. I think there is a bias towards saying that Israel is a democracy in the Middle East, that Israel has a right to exist, that Israel has its security concerns.”It should be noted that, during the period of Mark Thompson’s directorship of the BBC, it was alleged by antisemitic conspiracy theorists that he and the BBC were involved in a pro-Israel conspiracy, and his impartiality was apparently questioned, by virtue of his having a Jewish wife, by readers of the Morning Star.
  1. On 1st July 2011, an article apparently written by Mr Corbyn was reportedly published in the Morning Star, defending the controversial cleric Raed Salah, who had been arrested for having entered Britain in spite of a travel ban. The article described British media coverage of the ban as “hysteria”, and continued: “It’s time that Western governments stood up to the Zionist lobby which seems to conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism.”Raed Salah is the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, a group outlawed by the Israeli government in 2015 for its alleged links to the terrorist group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. He was convicted of raising money and organising for Hamas. In 2007, he reportedly gave a speech in which he accused Jews of using the blood of non-Jewish children to bake bread. He was charged with inciting violence and racism, and was initially acquitted, but later convicted on appeal in 2016. He also wrote shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that Jews had been absent from the World Trade Centre on that day, invoking a conspiracy theory that Israel, rather than Al-Qaeda, had been responsible for the atrocity. He also published a poem describing Jews as “the germs in all time.” On 25th November 2019, it was reported that he had been convicted of incitement to violence.
  1. On 5th April 2012, Mr Corbyn wrote to the then Bishop of Guildford in support of the Reverend Stephen Sizer, who had recently been accused of antisemitism in light of having promoted an article (which included an image by controversial Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff, suggesting that the Holocaust was being exploited for political purposes) on social media from the virulently antisemitic site The Ugly Truth (whose tagline currently reads: “intelligent ‘anti-semitism’ [sic] for thinking gentiles”). Mr Corbyn wrote: “Reverend Stephen Sizer seems to have come under attack by certain individuals intent on discrediting the excellent work that Stephen does in highlighting the injustices of the Palestinian Israeli situation… Might I suggest that such criticism is part of a wider pattern of demonising those who dare to stand up and speak out against Zionism…” He continued by asserting his certainty that the Bishop would be aware of “how much distance exists between anti Semitism [sic], anti Zionism [sic], and anti Israeli government actions for that matter,” adding that “Overzealous critics find it convenient to conflate them all. Active and well informed individuals such as Reverend Stephen Sizer, withstand a considerable amount of inappropriate criticism. Indeed many MPs and Peers are also attacked.”It should be noted that this was not the first time Mr Sizer had promoted material from antisemitic sites (nor, indeed, the first time he had publicly been accused of antisemitism), but rather represented part of a longstanding pattern of behaviour, as the result of which a Jewish community charity would later that year lodge a formal complaint against him. In 2015, Mr Sizer was investigated by the Church of England following his posting of an article which blamed Israel for the 9/11 attacks, and for which he was banned by the church from using social media. Mr Sizer breached this ban in November 2016 — posting about an event he had attended in the House of Lords, hosted by Baroness Tonge and organised by the Palestinian Return Centre, at which a questioner in the audience appeared to blame Jews for the Holocaust — and was issued with a final warning. Having breached his agreement again in early 2017, he was made to retire early from his parish. He has continued to promote antisemitic conspiracy theories, including the so-called ‘Khazar Myth’, and has appeared on Press TV, lending credence to the proposition put forward by the programme’s host that Labour’s antisemitism crisis was “all cooked up, manufactured by the Israeli lobby in the UK, in conjunction with the Israeli embassy.”
  1. On 12th August 2012, Jeremy Corbyn appeared in an interview on Press TV. Asked about an Islamist attack in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, in which a number of Egyptian soldiers had been killed, he stated: [a] “I’m very concerned about it [the violence], and you have to look at the big picture. In whose interests is it to destabilise the new government in Egypt; in whose interests is it to kill Egyptians other than Israel, concerned at the growing relationship between Palestine and the new Egyptian government.” Prompted by the interviewer to comment on the idea that jihadists might attack fellow Muslims during Ramadan, he replied: “It seems a bit unlikely that that would happen during Ramadan — to put it mildly — and I suspect the hand of Israel in this whole process of destabilisation.”Later in the same programme, an interview was conducted via satellite link with Abdulaziz Amr, who received seven life sentences for helping to organise a Hamas suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2003 which killed seven people, including Dr David Applebaum, head of the emergency room at a Jerusalem hospital, and his daughter Nava, who was due to be married the next day. However, Mr Amr was released in a 2011 prisoner exchange, in which over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners were exchanged for an Israeli soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, who had been held hostage by Hamas for 5 years. Questioned about the experiences of prisoners, as claimed by Abdulaziz Amr, Mr Corbyn said: [b] “You have to ask the question why they are in prison in the first place…I met many of the brothers including the brother who’s been speaking here [Mr Amr] when they came out of prison, when I was in Doha earlier this year…if there was a serious case against the individual prisoners that Israel claims there would be then they wouldn’t win an appeal [sic], they wouldn’t get out, they wouldn’t be released…Corporal Shalit apparently equals the lives of a very, very large number of Palestinian people. Well, I’m glad that those who were released were released, I hope they’re now in safe places.”It should be noted that this interview took place over six months after Press TV had been banned from broadcasting in the UK, following repeated infractions of the broadcasting code. The most serious of these was its airing of an interview with a journalist which had been conducted under duress. We note further that Mr Corbyn was reportedly paid around £20,000 for appearances on Press TV between 2009 and 2012, according to the House of Commons register of interests. Press TV is widely considered to be a propaganda channel for the theocratic Iranian regime, which is profoundly antismitic and which has promoted Holocaust denial.
  1. On 2nd October 2012, in response to learning from the artist Mear One that his mural near Brick Lane would be removed, Mr Corbyn wrote on Facebook: “Why? You are in good company. Rockerfeller [sic] destroyed Diego Viera’s [sic] mural because it includes a picture of Lenin.” The mural portrayed a number of businessmen — some of whom represented specific Jewish individuals and whose stereotypical portrayal evoked the antisemitic caricatures of Nazi-era Germany — playing Monopoly on the backs of the poor.Diego Rivera had been commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller to create a mural, but the latter had halted work and ultimately destroyed it on account of the inclusion of the figure of Vladimir Lenin, the Communist leader of Russia. Patrick Viera was a footballer at Arsenal FC, Mr Corbyn’s favoured club.
  1. On an unknown date in 2013, Mr Corbyn addressed a meeting convened by the Palestinian Return Centre. Referring to a previous speech given by Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Authority’s representative in Britain, Mr Corbyn suggested that “the progressive Jewish element” in Britain at the time of the Balfour agreement had been against it, and that these same Jewish progressives had been the leaders of the London trade unions and the Labour Party at the time. He continued: “It was Zionism that rose up and Zionism that drove them [Jewish progressive Trades Union and Labour Party leaders] into this sort of ludicrous position they have at the present time.” He gave as an example of this supposedly “ludicrous position” the meeting in Parliament, at which, he said, the Palestinian envoy’s words had been “dutifully recorded by the thankfully silent Zionists who were in the audience on that occasion and then came up and berated him afterwards for what he’d said. So clearly two problems. One is that they don’t want to study history and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either. Manuel does understand English irony and uses it very, very effectively so I think they need two lessons which we can help them with.”Mr Corbyn’s comments above were reportedly immediately followed by a speech given by the Revd Stephen Sizer (see [9]).
  1. On 3rd April 2016, Merseyside MP Louise Ellman reportedly said: “The leader [Mr Corbyn, who had been elected on 12th September 2015] has spoken out clearly that he is against antisemitism, but it is not just about words, there has got to be some action, and we haven’t seen enough of that.” Ms Ellman had witnessed and experienced antisemitic abuse in her constituency Labour Party, which led, ultimately, to her resigning her membership of the Party, citing the rise of antisemitism under Mr Corbyn’s leadership. Her 2016 comments prompted Mr Corbyn’s brother Piers — who has a history of antisemitic social media posts — to tweet: “Absurd! JC and all #Corbyns are committed #AntiNazi. #Zionists cant cope with anyone supporting rights for #Palestine.” When prompted by a reporter to clarify his interpretation of his brother’s comments, Mr Corbyn is reported to have said on 5th April 2016: “No, my brother isn’t wrong”. He went on to say: “My brother has his point of view, I have mine and we actually fundamentally agree.”
  2. On 18th March 2016, the senior Guardian journalist Jonathan Freedland, who is Jewish, published an article attempting to explain the phenomenon of antisemitism in the Labour Party. The language he used was not polemic, nor the argument partisan. However, at that time Jeremy Corbyn was being filmed as part of a documentary, and, on camera, was shown describing Mr Freedland’s writing as “Utterly disgusting subliminal nastiness,” adding “he’s not a good guy.”
  3. On 19th September 2016, a video was posted on Mr Corbyn’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, in which pairs of activists were shown discussing questions his supporters were “tired of hearing” in relation to the Labour leader. The final responses to the question “Do you promote antisemitism?” characterised the Jewish community’s complaints as coming from people who were “losing the political argument and [had] nothing to fight back with other than these accusations,” before finally dismissing the written question as rubbish, which the presenters of the video screwed into a ball and tossed onto the floor.
  4. On 4th September 2018, it was reported that the Labour Party’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee (NEC) had adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism in full, but that an accompanying clarification proposed by Mr Corbyn immediately beforehand had not been accepted. One passage of this statement asserted: “It cannot be considered racist to treat Israel like any other state or assess its conduct against the standards of international law. Nor should it be regarded as antisemitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist because of their discriminatory impact, or to support another settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict.”
  5. On 2nd May 2019, responding to a letter from the head of a Jewish charity prompted by the revelation of the incident detailed in [6], Mr Corbyn wrote: “I am deeply saddened that the mischievous representation of my foreword to the book will have caused real stress within the Jewish community.” He continued: “This accusation is the latest in a series of equally ill-founded accusations of anti-Jewish racism that Labour’s political opponents have made against me. I note that the Hobson story was written by a Conservative Party peer in a newspaper whose editorial policy, and owner, have long been hostile to Labour. At a time when Jewish communities in the UK, and indeed throughout Europe, feel under attack, it is a matter of great regret that the issue of antisemitism is often politicised in this way.”
  6. From 30th June 2016 to 27th February 2019, Mr Corbyn lent explicit support to, and in some cases reportedly interfered or intervened in the Party’s disciplinary processes regarding some of the most prominent and controversial individuals suspended and expelled from the Labour Party for actions and statements subsequently determined by the Labour Party to have brought the Party into disrepute as a result of their antisemitic content. These include Jackie Walker (expelled); Marc Wadsworth (expelled); Chris Williamson (suspended three times and resigned); Glyn Secker (suspended and reinstated) and Moshé Machover (a Labour Party member).[a] On 30th June 2016, it was reported that the Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth had left the launch of the Chakrabarti report on antisemitism in tears after having been accused by Labour activist Marc Wadsworth of colluding with right-wing media. It was reported that Ms Smeeth had called for Mr Corbyn to resign after he stood by while the accusations against Ms Smeeth were made and failed to intervene. Mr Corbyn was also reported as having appeared to compare the Israeli government with terrorist groups such as ISIS, having said: “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organisations.” On 1st July 2016, it was reported that video footage had emerged of Mr Corbyn laughing and joking with Mr Wadsworth following the heckling of Ms Smeeth. Mr Corbyn can be seen, having become separated from Mr Wadsworth, making efforts to push through the crowd to rejoin their clearly convivial conversation. Mr Wadsworth is heard saying to Mr Corbyn: “I outed her [Ms Smeeth], bloody talking to the Torygraph [a reference to the pro-Conservative leanings of the Telegraph] this morning.” As a consequence of his actions and statements above, Mr Wadsworth was subsequently expelled from the Party.

    [b] On 12th March 2019, it was reported that, in October 2017, Mr Corbyn had intervened in the expulsion from Labour of Moshé Machover, reportedly complaining to the Party’s then General Secretary Iain McNicol. Mr Machover, who is currently Political Officer of Hampstead and Kilburn Constituency Labour Party, and was listed alongside Mr Corbyn as one of the speakers in [1], had written an article which was widely distributed to activists at the 2017 Labour Party Conference in Brighton, arguing that in Labour, a “campaign of equating opposition to Zionism with antisemitism has, in fact, been carefully orchestrated with the help of the Israeli government”. The essay, “Anti-Zionism does not equal antisemitism”, quoted Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Final Solution, to support the notion that the Nazis supported Zionists before the Holocaust. The article appeared in a magazine produced by the Labour Party Marxists group, which is closely linked to the Communist Party of Great Britain. At the time, then Labour MP John Mann and Holocaust Educational Trust Chief Executive Karen Pollock had both attacked the publication of the article and called for those linked to the group to be expelled from the Party. Indeed, it appears that Mr Machover’s expulsion was, in fact, as a result of Labour’s policy of auto-exclusion, on the grounds of his membership of another political party; namely, both Labour Party Marxists and the Communist Party of Great Britain.

    At the 2019 Labour Party conference, an article by Mr Machover was distributed to members in which Israel was compared to the Nazis.

    [c] On 10th March 2019, it was reported that, in March 2018, Mr Corbyn’s Director of Strategy and Communications, Seumas Milne, had told Party officials to lift the suspension of Glyn Secker (following the discovery of his membership of the Palestine Live Facebook group), overruling their recommendation to expel him, after Andrew Murray, another aide to Mr Corbyn (and the Unite union’s chief of staff), stated that Mr Corbyn himself was “interested in this one.”

    Mr Corbyn has shown support for Mr Secker in the past. For example, on 26th July 2014, during a pro-Palestine march in London, Mr Corbyn spoke in praise of Mr Secker, saying: “…we’ve just heard a brilliant speech from Glyn Secker from Jews for Justice for Palestinians, who read out a letter from Dr Mads Gilbert, working in the Shifa hospital in Gaza. That’s the Jewish tradition that I’m interested in; that’s the Jewish tradition I understand.”

    Mr Secker is now Secretary of two organisations with a record of antisemitism denial, Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL)  and Free Speech on Israel. Mr Secker was briefly suspended from the Labour Party in March 2018 when it was discovered that he was a member of the Palestine Live Facebook Group. On 11th May 2019, Mr Secker was recorded saying in a speech that “Jews” are “in the gutter” and “part of the problem,” apparently in relation to Jewish organisations and their leaders; he has nevertheless been chosen by the Labour Party to provide training on antisemitism.

    [d] On 31st January 2019, it was reported by Derbyshire Live that Mr Corbyn had said of then Labour MP for Derby North, Chris Williamson: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not antisemitic in any way.” Mr Williamson had repeatedly been accused of extreme insensitivity towards the Jewish community because of his support for high-profile members suspended or expelled for antisemitism, and just the previous month had been the subject of a statement issued by 30 University Labour Clubs, in which he was condemned for his “complete lack of respect for the Jewish community,” and in which the Party was urged to withdraw the whip “until he listens to the concerns of the Jewish community and properly educates himself about antisemitism.” Mr Williamson was suspended from the Party on 27th February 2019.

    On 27th February 2019, it was reported that Mr Corbyn’s office had seemingly intervened to prevent Mr Williamson’s suspension.

    On 28th February 2019, it was reported in The Telegraph that Mr Corbyn had let it be known that he did not want Mr Williamson suspended; it was reportedly only when it became clear that this was a “PR disaster” that the whip was removed from the MP.

    On 6th November 2019, Mr Williamson resigned from the Labour Party and wrote a resignation letter described as “a manifesto against Jews.”

    [e] On 4th July 2016, Mr Corbyn gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on antisemitism, and was questioned about Jackie Walker, who was, at the time, the Vice-Chair of Momentum, the campaign group set up to support Mr Corbyn in his leadership bid the previous year, and has been described as a “key ally” of Mr Corbyn. Ms Walker had been readmitted to the Party a few months previously, following her suspension for stating that “many Jews” were amongst the “the chief financiers” of the transatlantic slave trade, in spite of having refused to aplogise for her comments. Asked to comment on why Ms Walker had been reinstated, whilst Ken Livingstone remained suspended, Mr Corbyn replied: “Jackie Walker is a woman of black Jamaican heritage and European Jewish heritage, and as I understand it, she became involved in an online discussion about the history of the slave trade and the financing of the slave trade, and unfortunately she then became involved in a discussion about the gradations of horror that go with that. She was indeed suspended. She made strong representations to the Compliance Unit of the Party — I wasn’t a party to any of that — and she was subsequently reinstated on this. I think she is somebody that does have a deep understanding of issues of racism that have affected her and her family in her life…”

    Further pressed to say whether he was “happy to have someone in the Party who [had] made those comments,” Mr Corbyn responded: “…I am content that she has now been reinstated in the Party and that she will make a positive contribution to our Party and not in any way indulge in any activities that would be damaging to the Party.”

    Mr Corbyn was later asked to comment on Ken Livingstone’s submission to the enquiry on the matter of Ms Walker’s statements. Chuka Umunna MP said : “I am just asking whether you think, as Ken Livingstone said to us, that to state that Jewish people were important in financing the slave trade is antisemitic because, as he said, it was not true. Do you think that what she said is antisemitic?” Mr Corbyn responded: “True or not, it is the wrong comparison to draw” and, pressed further, stated: “I think if you condemn people for their faith and funding of something, yes, that does become antisemitic, because what you are doing then — as I think you would probably agree — is calling them out because of their faith or their ethnicity, rather than the fact of what they were doing, which was apparently funding the slave trade.”

    On 6th September 2016, Mr Corbyn was reported as having been criticised for having shared a platform with Jackie Walker, having been photographed smiling and standing alongside her at a Momentum event in Kent.

    On 30th September 2016, it was reported that Ms Walker had been suspended for a second time for saying that Holocaust Memorial Day should be “open to all peoples who’ve experienced Holocaust” and questioning the need for the Jewish community to have extra security for its buildings.

    On 27th March 2019, it was reported that Ms Walker had been expelled from the Labour Party for “prejudicial and grossly detrimental behaviour against the party.”

    On 10th July 2019, it was reported that a key ally of Mr Corbyn, Labour’s General Secretary Jennie Formby, had been accused of attempting to influence the selection of the disciplinary panel which would hear Jackie Walker’s case. It was reported that an e-mail from her, stating “The National Constitutional Committee cannot be allowed to continue in the way that they are at the moment and I will also be challenging the panel for the Jackie Walker case” had been sent by her to Mr Corbyn’s personal e-mail address, as well as to Mr Corbyn’s chief advisors.

    On 19th July 2019, it was reported that Sky News had obtained e-mails showing that Mr Corbyn had been party to the correspondence between Jennie Formby and his Chief of Staff, Karie Murphy, in which Ms Walker’s case was discussed. Ms Formby apparently expressed the desire to ensure that Ms Walker’s panel did not include members who had been involved in the cases of Tony Greenstein and Marc Wadsworth, both of whom had been expelled.

Analysis

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis is that Mr Corbyn’s actions and statements amount to breaches of the International Definition of Antisemitism and qualify as antisemitic discourse according to our methodology.

By suggesting that British Jews (characterised as “Zionists”) were incapable of understanding “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives” (thereby promoting the stereotypical notion of Jewish ‘foreignness’) [12]; by wholeheartedly endorsing a book which promotes an early incarnation of contemporary conspiracy theories about the Rothschild family and alleges Jewish control over the press, without drawing attention to the antisemitic nature of its analysis [6]; by defending the continued existence of a mural which promoted antisemitic tropes (after having analysed and absorbed its contents sufficiently to have drawn a sophisticated comparison to the fate of a mural by Diego Rivera) [11]; and by suggesting that his foreword to J.A. Hobson’s book had been mischievously misrepresented by a Jewish journalist for partisan political reasons, thereby presenting the journalist as deceitful and untrustworthy [17], he was “making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”

Zionism is an expression of national self-determination for Jews, and, since the establishment of the State of Israel, of support for the maintenance of that state. However, the allegation that Zionism is an inherently far-right and racist ideology was promoted by the Soviet Union in the post-war era until 1989, as part of a deliberate and explicitly antisemitic campaign to persecute Jewish citizens who wished to practise their religion and/or leave the Soviet Union — especially to emigrate to Israel — as well as to demonise and undermine Israel on the foreign stage for global strategic gain. A singular purpose of this propaganda was to drive a false distinction between “Jews” and “Zionists”, in which the latter are portrayed as the enemy of the former, and the embodiment of many older antisemitic tropes, especially those in which Jews are characterised as disloyal citizens controlling the world’s finances at the expense of the poor. In this context, “Zionist” could then be substituted for “Jew” in antisemitic discourse; and Israel, the embodiment of Zionism, became the “Jew among nations”: a vessel for many older antisemitic ideas, characterised as a malign presence that mediates its power over foreign countries via the “Zionist” population they host.

By referring to supposed control of the British media by the “Zionist lobby” [8]; by stating that British “Zionists” “don’t understand English irony” [10]; by alleging that the British media is manipulated by Israel [2] [7]; by suggesting that Israel controls US foreign policy [2]; by alleging, without evidence, that Israel had perpetrated a so-called “false flag” attack in Egypt [10a]; and by asserting unambiguous opposition to Zionism and seeming to suggest that the existence of Zionism makes life in Israel/Palestine impossible [3]; he was, therefore “making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions” where Israel is “conceived as a Jewish collectivity.”

We further note that, on 26th November 2019, Mr Corbyn was interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Neil, and was questioned as to whether it was antisemitic to use the phrase “Rothschild’s Zionists run Israel and world governments” (a claim made by the former Labour council candidate Liam Moore), Mr Corbyn seemed reluctant to admit that it was, and had to be pressed on the matter a number of times before he appeared to agree.

We also note the words of the Labour Party’s own guidance issued on the use of the term ‘Zionism’, particularly where it states that: “…for many Jews, Zionism represents national liberation. The concepts of Israel, Zion and Jerusalem run deeply in Jewish religion, identity and culture, and…are symbolic of a homeland, refuge, or place of safety. The sensitivities around these concepts should be considered before using them.”

By apparently endorsing his brother’s view that accusations of antisemitism in the Labour Party, as highlighted by a Jewish MP, were the work of “Zionists [who] can’t cope with anyone supporting rights for…Palestine” [13]; by suggesting that accusations of antisemitism levelled against the Revd Stephen Sizer were simply part of an effort to demonise “those daring to stand up and speak out against Zionism” [9]; by claiming that a Jewish journalist’s analysis of antisemitism in the Labour Party was a work of “utterly disgusting subliminal nastiness” [14]; by promoting a video which characterises those making accusations of antisemitism within the Labour Party as doing so because they were “losing the political argument” [15]; and by suggesting that, in relation to his foreword to J.A. Hobson’s book, the issue of antisemitism in general was being “politicised” (suggesting, moreover, that those making such accusations were responsible for promoting anxiety within the Jewish community) [17], he was deploying the so-called ‘Livingstone Formulation, by accusing Jews who cite evidence of antisemitism of lying, conspiring or having deceitful motives in doing so, when there is clear evidence that there have been breaches of the International Definition of Antisemitism. This further constitutes “making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”

By suggesting that the BBC was biased towards saying “that Israel has a right to exist” (in the context of an interview given to a propaganda channel for the Islamic Republic of Iran — a country whose leaders have repeatedly made clear their desire to eliminate the Jewish state — and in which pro-Israeli bias is understood to be negative), thereby tacitly condoning the view that Israel’s right to exist is a matter of debate [7]; by asserting unambiguous opposition to Zionism and seeming to suggest that the existence of Zionism makes life in Israel/Palestine impossible [3]; and by proposing a clarification to Labour’s adoption of the IHRA definition which stated that it could not be regarded as antisemitic to describe the circumstances around the foundation of Israel as racist [16], he was “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour).”

The Jewish Labour Movement (formerly known as ‘Poale Zion’) is the Labour Party’s affiliate for Jewish members and their supporters within the Labour Party. Founded in 1920, its stated aim is: “To organise and maintain a political movement of Jewish people within the UK Labour Party and the international labour movement.” By sponsoring, chairing and speaking at the Labour Movement Conference on Palestine at which a motion was “agreed overwhelmingly” to disaffiliate its members [1a], and whose platform expresses “opposition to the manifestation of Zionism in the Labour Movement and the Labour Party in particular” [1b], therefore, Mr Corbyn was discriminating against and attempting to exclude Jews from public participation in a political party. This constitutes a manifestation of antisemitism by word and action. Furthermore, by sponsoring, chairing and speaking at the Labour Movement Conference on Palestine, whose platform expressly aims “to eradicate Zionism…” from the Labour Movement, he was further “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.”

By hosting, chairing and speaking at an event which explicitly drew a direct comparison between the actions of the Israeli government and those of Nazi Germany, when the evidence demonstrates that Mr Corbyn must have known that such an argument was to be advanced [4]; Mr Corbyn was both directly “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,” and enabling the drawing of such comparisons.

By choosing to stage the above event at Parliament on Holocaust Memorial Day itself, when Jews actively mourn those slain in the Holocaust, having been warned that such timing would be deeply upsetting to the Jewish community [4]; and, further, by supporting a motion introduced in the House of Commons on the following year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, calling for the word “Holocaust” to be dropped from the title of the commemoration, and citing as its inspiration an organisation whose reported aim is to challenge the “Zionist exploitation of [this] genocide…” [5], Mr Corbyn took a deliberate and premeditated course of action in the knowledge that it would cause deep offence to the Jewish community. As such, this represents a manifestation of antisemitism expressed as an action.

The assertion that Jews exploit the Holocaust politically and financially is an antisemitic trope based on the perception of negative Jewish character traits; namely notions of dishonesty and greed. This trope is now so widespread that, in a 2018 CNN survey, one third of Europeans expressed the opinion that Jews exploit the Holocaust. By hosting, chairing and speaking at an event in which Jews — particularly, but not exclusively, in Israel — were accused of “misuse of [the] Holocaust” and of believing that “Because we Jews have a monoploy on suffering, we can do what we want to anybody” [4], he was enabling the dissemination of “mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews.”

By hosting an event which promoted the notion of a “Holocaust religion” [4], Mr Corbyn was attempting to diminish the significance of the Holocaust.

By using a television interview to question why a terrorist convicted for the slaughter of innocent Jewish Israelis should be “in prison in the first place”; by calling that terrorist “brother”; and by expressing pleasure in his release from prison as a result of a prisoner-swap, despite his not having served his full jail term [10b], Mr Corbyn was signalling his endorsement of Mr Amr’s actions as an organiser of the terrorist murder of Jewish Israeli civilians. Given that, according to our records, Mr Corbyn has never apologised or distanced himself from these statements since becoming leader of the UK Labour Party, his actions and statements have therefore validated and spread within the Labour Party the view that such profoundly violent actions against Jews are, in his eyes, legitimate. As such, this represents an expression of hatred of Jews, disseminated by both speech and action.

By having lent regular and explicit support for, and reportedly interfered or intervened in the Party’s disciplinary processes regarding, some of the most prominent individuals suspended and expelled from the Labour Party for actions and statements subsequently determined by the Labour Party to have been antisemitic and/or to have brought the Party into disrepute as a result of their antisemitic content [18 a-e], Mr Corbyn consistently and deliberately enabled and supported the dissemination of  antisemitic discourse in the Labour Party. In doing so, he  promoted discrimination against Jews within the Labour Party such as Ruth Smeeth, Luciana Berger, Margaret Hodge, members of the Jewish Labour Movement and others, who were the specific targets of these individuals’ comments, as well as supporting a wider demonisation of Jews objecting to antisemitism in the Labour Party. As such, he was responsible for “mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective.”

Outcome

On 28th January 2010, Mr Corbyn’s hosting of the ‘Never Again for Anyone–Auschwitz to Gaza’ event [4] was reported, and was described at the time by various Jewish groups as “despicable” and “an appalling offence.”

On 13th August 2015, it was noted that Mr Corbyn had described it as his “honour and pleasure” to host “our friends” from Hamas and Hezbollah in parliament [3] and that, according to Mr Corbyn, he had extended his invitation to these groups and spoken of them in such warm terms because all sides need to be involved in the peace process. It was further noted, however, that the Hamas charter explicitly resists negotiated peace settlements and states: “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement… There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad.”

On 15th August 2015, video footage from 2012 was published, showing Mr Corbyn saying of Sheikh Raed Salah (see [8] above): “[Salah] is a very honoured citizen. He represents his people extremely well and his is a voice which must be heard…I hereby renew my invitation to Sheikh Salah to come to Parliament, meet with me, meet with my colleagues. You will be assured of a very warm welcome. I look forward to giving you tea on the terrace because you deserve it.”

On 19th August 2015, it was reported that Mr Corbyn’s office had responded to five questions posed by the Jewish Chronicle in advance of the Labour leadership election, relating to Mr Corbyn’s association with, and support of, individuals known to hold antisemitic views. The fourth question related to his support for the Revd Stephen Sizer [9], asking: “Why did you write to the Church of England authorities to defend Rev Stephen Sizer, a vicar banned from social media because of his habit of posting antisemitic conspiracy theories, telling them that Rev Sizer was “under attack” because he had “dared to speak out over Zionism”?

The response from Mr Corbyn’s office suggested that the JC was “conflating two issues,” and argued that: “Mr Corbyn wrote to the Church authorities two years before the 9/11 ‘conspiracy’ post about a different matter altogether. At this point Mr Sizer was involved in a dispute about his involvement in Middle East political issues and Mr Corbyn supported his right to do so. It was much later that Mr Sizer was found to have posted the link to the 9/11 article and then disciplined by the Church.” It added that Mr Corbyn had “made no intervention on [the Revd Stephen Sizer’s] behalf or in his support on that question. Neither was he asked to.”

The JC also reported responses given by Mr Corbyn’s office with regard to his association with Holocaust denier Paul Eisen and his “Deir Yassin Remembered” group, (which has been categorised as a Holocaust denial hate group). Mr Corbyn claimed not to have made a donation to the group, as had been alleged; he also said that, while he had attended meetings in the past, he no longer did so. A further response stated: “Jeremy believes that Mr Eisen’s position on the Holocaust is wrong and reprehensible.” It was also suggested that “in the early stages of DYR’s existence it attracted broad support and only later did Mr Eisen’s views on the Holocaust become apparent.”

In response to the questions posed by the JC, a Labour spokesperson said: “During the course of his work to forward peace processes between disparate groups Jeremy has met many people with views he finds reprehensible. But he believes in determined dialogue and persistent diplomacy as a means to bring about peace whether between neighbours, between peoples or between states. He is a prominent campaigner for human rights, quite without malice. He does not have an antisemitic bone in his body.”

On 6th November 2015, barely two months after his election as Labour leader, Mr Corbyn’s apparent support for the Mear One mural [11] was revealed, and it was reported that his office had been approached for comment. It is unclear whether an explanation was forthcoming at that time.

On 25th May 2016, Mr Corbyn’s involvement in the Labour Conference on Palestine [1] was reported, and it was noted that Labour Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On 3rd June 2016, following the release of the documentary in [14], it was noted that, whilst Mr Corbyn had shown repeated reluctance to act against members of the Labour Party, such as Ken Livingstone, who had been accused of antisemitism, he appeared to reserve his condemnation for those who were intent on exposing it.

On 4th July 2016, during his submission of evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry on antisemitism, it was put to Mr Corbyn, in relation to [1]: “Finally, you sponsored a Labour movement conference on Palestine which called for Labour to disaffiliate from its Jewish arm and denounce “the Zionist state as racist”. Do you stand by those statements?” Mr Corbyn responded: “No, I don’t believe that to be the case.”

On 21st September 2016, it was reported that the promotional video in [15] had been withdrawn following widespread criticism. It was further reported that Jon Lansman (Chair of the pro-Jeremy Corbyn group Momentum) had privately apologised and said that a public apology would be forthcoming.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn reportedly said the video had been produced by his campaign team and not his official office. At the time of writing Campaign Against Antisemitism is not aware of any explanation or apology by Mr Corbyn himself.

On 23rd September, 2016, Campaign Against Antisemitism filed a complaint with the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee. It charged that Mr Corbyn had breached the Party’s Conditions of Membership as set out in Chapter 2, Clause I (8) of the Party’s Rule Book by committing acts grossly detrimental to the Party in characterising Jewish people as dissembling and dishonest in their reporting of antisemitism, and by using the influence and prestige of his office to disseminate and normalise that lie, contrary to Chapter I, Clause IV (2) (B) of the Party’s Constitutional Rules. The complaint was ignored, however. The complaint cited his failure to defend Ruth Smeeth at the launch of the Chakrabarti report but instead leaving laughing and joking with the perpetrator Marc Wadsworth (subsequently expelled); the campaign video in [15]; and his generalised failure to push back against allegations by senior colleagues and supporters that Jewish complaints of antisemitism were “smears”.

On 20th May 2017, it was reported that Mr Corbyn had allegedly been considered a “stalwart” supporter of the Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR) group for a number of years after the antisemitic views of its organisers had been exposed. It was further alleged that, although the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (of which Mr Corbyn is a patron) had severed ties with DYR in 2007 over antisemitism, Mr Corbyn had attended an event in 2013 organised by Paul Eisen and Gill Kaffash (an alleged Holocaust denier and former Labour councillor). Mr Corbyn is reported as having insisted that, had he known Mr Eisen was a Holocaust denier, he would have had nothing to do with DYR. He said it was false to suggest that he had any knowledge of their views when he attended the event in 2013. He also reportedly said that, had Mr Eisen come out as a Holocaust denier in 2000 when he established the organisation, he would not have given it his backing.

On 8th March 2018, following the publication of a report on a secret Facebook group called “Palestine Live” in which antisemitic content and comments were shared freely, it was reported that Labour had suspended a number of Party members who had posted in the group. Mr Corbyn had also been revealed to be a member, although he claimed not to have seen any antisemitic content; he also said that his participation had been limited, but included organising a talk to be given by a controversial activist, Max Blumenthal. The event was organised with the founder and administrator of the Facebook group, Eleanne Green, with whom Mr Corbyn evidently had a personal bond, and who has disseminated material reminiscent of neo-Nazi material on the site, tolerated and interacted with Holocaust denier Paul Eisen (Mr Corbyn’s former associate at Deir Yassin Remembered), and shared, posts claiming, inter alia, that “Zionists” are “killing children and stealing children to sell them on the black market.” Afterwards, Mr Corbyn thanked those who had attended Mr Blumenthal’s talk on the “Palestine Live” Facebook group in a thread with Ms Green. A further exchange included in the report shows Mr Corbyn interacting in a thread that elsewhere contains antisemitic content.

On 22nd March 2018, it was reported that Mr Corbyn had been found to be a member of a second Facebook group in which antisemitism was on open display. He had reportedly been added to the “History of Palestine” group in 2014 by Mosabbir Ali (the former chair of Banglatown and Spitalfields Labour Party, expelled from the Party for antisemitism in 2017), but a spokesperson for Mr Corbyn said that he had been added without his knowledge.

On 23rd March 2018, then Labour MP Luciana Berger tweeted that she had requested an explanation for Mr Corbyn’s apparent support for the Mear One mural [11], and that she was still waiting for a response from his office.

Later that day, it was reported that Mr Corbyn’s office had issued the following statement: “In 2012, Jeremy was responding to concerns about the removal of public art on grounds of freedom of speech. However, the mural was offensive, used antisemitic imagery, which has no place in our society, and it is right that it was removed.”

It was further reported that Ms Berger had expressed dissatisfaction with the response from Mr Corbyn’s office, saying: “It fails to understand on any level the hurt and anguish felt about antisemitism.”

A second statement was later reportedly issued, in which Mr Corbyn said: “I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and antisemitic. The defence of free speech cannot be used as a justification for the promotion of antisemitism in any form. That is a view I’ve always held.”

On 24th March 2018, Campaign Against Antisemitism submitted a second disciplinary complaint about Mr Corbyn to the Labour Party.

On 26th March 2018, it was reported that Mr Corbyn was a member of a third Facebook group in which antisemitic discourse was freely shared. Mr Corbyn had reportedly been a member of the “Labour Party Supporter” group (which was also created and moderated by Mosabbir Ali) for seven years.

On the same day, it was later reported that Mr Corbyn had left the Facebook group following publication of the earlier report. A spokesperson for Mr Corbyn reportedly said: “Jeremy has never posted in the group, did not follow its content and was not an active participant.”

On 28th July 2018, Campaign Against Antisemitism reported that it was preparing a third disciplinary complaint against Mr Corbyn in relation to the emergence of his comments in [10a].

On 1st August 2018, Mr Corbyn’s sponsoring of the Early Day Motion to rename Holocaust Memorial Day [5] and his hosting of the “Never Again for Anyone–Auschwitz to Gaza” event [4] were reported. A Labour Party spokesman, speaking on behalf of both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell reportedly said: “This was a cross party initiative, jointly sponsored by a senior Conservative MP, to emphasise the already broader character of Holocaust Memorial Day. It is not our policy to seek a name change for this important commemoration.” It was also reported that Mr Corbyn had apologised after hosting the meeting in Parliament [4], saying “I have on occasion appeared on platforms with people whose views I completely reject. I apologise for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused.” However, he did not apologise for his role in organising, chairing and hosting the event.

On 2nd August 2018, Mr Corbyn’s comments in [10b] were also reported, in relation to which, a Labour spokesman reportedly said: “In 2012 Jeremy was commenting on the prison conditions of Palestinian prisoners, including elected representatives. He was of course in no way supporting or endorsing the actions of the prisoners, but defending their rights under international law, including those held without trial under administrative detention laws inherited from British rule. He welcomed the exchange of prisoners on both sides as part of a reduction of tensions.”

The then Labour MP Joan Ryan, who was Chair of Labour Friends of Israel at that time, reportedly demanded an investigation into Mr Corbyn’s comments, saying: “It is beyond abhorrent that the leader of the Labour Party would ever welcome the release of such depraved terrorists. These evil individuals were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Israelis, including children and survivors of the Holocaust. These terrorists did not seek peace, only death and destruction. I will be calling on the party to investigate this matter immediately as I believe Mr Corbyn’s actions bring the Labour Party into disrepute.”

On 7th August 2018, when footage of Mr Corbyn’s interview with Press TV in [7] had emerged, it was reported that a Labour spokesperson had said that the Israeli government was “well known to run an effective and highly professional media operation.” Jennifer Gerber, chair of Labour Friends of Israel described Mr Corbyn’s remarks as “deplorable”; Labour MP John Mann, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism, suggested that Mr Corbyn should “set the record straight immediately, preferably by making a statement on the BBC”.

On 10th August 2018, it was reported that, in a speech to the Palestine Return Centre in 2013, Mr Corbyn had compared Israeli actions in the West Bank to the occupation of Europe during World War II. Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, was reported to have said: “Earlier this week, we discovered that Jeremy Corbyn engaged in wild conspiracy theories questioning Israel’s right to exist. Today, it is revealed he drew comparisons between conditions in the West Bank and the Nazi occupation of Europe. It is increasingly clear that his opposition to adopting the IHRA definition in full appears to be overwhelmingly driven by his own appalling past statements.” However, a Labour spokesman reportedly said: “Jeremy was describing conditions of occupations in World War Two in Europe, of which there are multiple examples, not comparing the Israeli State to Nazis.”

On 10th August 2018, photographs were published which apparently showed Mr Corbyn helping to lay a wreath in a cemetery in Tunisia in 2014. It was alleged that, although Mr Corbyn insisted he was there to honour the memories of Palestinians killed in an air strike in 1985, the photographs showed him in close proximity to the graves of members of the Black September group who had been responsible for masterminding the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

It also emerged, on 10th August 2018, that Mr Corbyn had, in fact, written about the event at the time, indicating that wreaths had been laid for both the victims of the 1985 air strike (misidentified in the article as having happened in 1986) and for those who had been assassinated in 1991 (of the PLO members buried in the cemetery thought to have belonged to Black September, Atef Bseiso — head of intelligence for the PLO and thought to have masterminded the Munich murders — was killed outside a Paris hotel in 1992, and Salah Khalaf — accused of having founded Black September — was killed in Tunis in 1991).

On 13th August 2018, it was reported that Mr Corbyn had admitted to being present at the wreath-laying ceremony for the Black September members thought to be behind the Munich massacre, saying: “I was present when it was laid. I don’t think I was actually involved in it.” This, despite photographic evidence showing him holding a wreath at the alleged site of the grave of the Black September members, and the photograph of the identical wreath laid on the grave which was included in his 2014 Morning Star article, in which he himself records his presence: “After wreaths were laid at the graves of those…killed by Mossad agents in Paris in 1991, we moved to the…” Photographic evidence also records Mr Corbyn manipulating an identical wreath, and the wreath itself in place on the grave.

On 23rd August 2018, the video footage of Mr Corbyn’s speech in [12] was revealed, and it was reported that the conference in question had been promoted on the website of the proscribed military wing of Hamas, the genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisation.

A Labour spokesperson reportedly said: “Jeremy Corbyn has a long and principled record of solidarity with the Palestinian people and engaging with actors in the conflict to support peace and justice in the Middle East. That is the right thing to do.” A spokesperson for Mr Corbyn also reportedly said: “Jeremy is totally opposed to all forms of antisemitism and is determined to drive it out from society. At this event, he was referring to a group of pro-Israel activists misunderstanding and then criticising the Palestinian Ambassador for a speech at a separate event about the occupation of the West Bank.”

On 31st August 2018, it was reported that Mr Corbyn had been accused of misleading Parliament after failing to reveal to the 2016 Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into antisemitism that he had met with board members of Deir Yassin Remembered at Parliament in 2014.

On 23rd September 2018, Mr Corbyn appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show. In response to a question about his perception of the Mear One mural [11] (“What did you first think when you saw that?”), he responded: “Well, I was worried about the idea of murals being taken down…and I sort of asked some questions about that and actually the mural was taken down and I was perhaps too hasty in my judgement on that. But it has been taken down and I’m glad it has.”

Reminded by Mr Marr that the Holocaust Educational Trust had said, “This mural was blatantly antisemitic using images commonly found in antisemitic propaganda. It is impossible not to notice,” Mr Corbyn replied: “It also has other symbols in it as well, doesn’t it, on freemasonry and so on.” Andrew Marr continued: “Do you not think it strange that you didn’t immediately think that’s dodgy?” Mr Corbyn responded: “I was concerned about the idea of taking down public murals and I’m pleased to say it was taken down.” Andrew Marr finally asked Mr Corbyn directly whether he now conceded that the mural was antisemitic; Mr Corbyn replied: “I think it should never have been put up.”

In the same interview, Mr Corbyn was asked about the footage which had emerged in [12]. When it was put to him that many Jewish people considered his words antisemitic, he attempted to justify them as having been prompted by concern for the upset apparently caused by Jewish activists to Manuel Hassassian on a previous occasion, and the desire to support him. Asked by Andrew Marr: “Given what Jewish comrades, Jewish members of the Labour Party have said about this, do you now accept that what you said was antisemitic?” Mr Corbyn replied: “Well, it was not intended to be antisemitic in any way and I have no intention and have absolutely opposition in every way to antisemitism though I can see where it leads to. I can see where it leads to now in Poland, in Hungary, in Central Europe, I can see where it led to in the past. We have to oppose racism in any form and I do.”

On 4th January 2019, it was reported that footage had emerged of Mr Corbyn at a conference in 2011, applauding a speaker who called for the dismantlement of Israel and said that Zionism had “kidnapped” Judaism. The speaker, Yisrael Dovid Weiss, is a member of the Neturei Karta — a tiny sect, shunned by other Jews, who are implacably opposed to the existence of the State of Israel, and whose views are so extreme that they have, for example, visited Iran to participate in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial conference. A Labour Party spokesperson was reported as saying: “Jeremy Corbyn has a long and principled record of solidarity with the Palestinian people and he attended this public meeting to show his support for peace and justice in the Middle East. He and the Labour Party support a two state solution to the conflict, with a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable Palestinian state”.

On 2nd April 2019, when it emerged that Mr Corbyn had apparently blamed the “Zionist lobby” for securing the deportation of Raed Salah [8], it was reported that Mr Corbyn had continued lobbying on behalf of Mr Salah and had expressed himself to be “delighted” in April 2012, when Mr Salah’s appeal against deportation was successful. It was further reported that, during the Labour leadership competition of 2015, Mr Corbyn had claimed to be unaware that Mr Salah had been convicted of racist incitement over his invocation of  the blood libel. A Labour spokesperson reportedly said: “Jeremy Corbyn is a determined supporter of justice for the Palestinian people and opponent of antisemitism. He condemns support for Palestinians being used as a mask for antisemitism and attempts to silence legitimate criticism of Israel by wrongly conflating it with antisemitism.” The spokesperson also reportedly cited “widespread criticism of the attempt to deport Raed Salah,” adding: “His appeal against deportation succeeded on all grounds.”

However, it was noted that, in the 2012 appeal on Mr Salah’s deportation, whilst the Upper Tribunal had ruled in his favour, the tribunal had dismissed the attempt to suggest that Mr Salah had not invoked the blood libel as “wholly unpersuasive”, and that its judgement said: “We do not find this comment could be taken to be anything other than a reference to the blood libel against Jews.”

On 2nd May 2019, after Mr Corbyn’s article in [2] had been discovered, it was reported that a Labour spokesperson had said: “The suggestion that Jeremy was talking about Jewish people, when he commented on the greater level of media influence the Israeli government has than the Palestinian leadership, is entirely false, and itself relies on a damaging antisemitic trope.”

On 8th May 2019, it was reported that Mr Corbyn was being urged to resign as a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign after it emerged that Palestine Solidarity Campaign activists throughout the country had shared antisemitic content on social media in the name of their local Palestine Solidarity Campaign branches. It was reported that the Labour Party had declined to comment. At the time of writing, Mr Corbyn remains a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

On 22nd May 2019, it was reported that, writing in the Morning Star in 2005, Mr Corbyn had apparently defended a speech by then President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, in which the latter had called for Israel to be “[wiped] from the face of the Islamic world,” saying that its “salient points” had been overlooked by “sensationalist headlines” about the speech’s language.

On 8th June 2019, it was reported that Mr Corbyn had given his full support to Lisa Forbes, who had been accused of sharing and endorsing antisemitic content on social media prior to her election as MP for Peterborough, saying: “Lisa Forbes is a good woman. Not a racist in any way whatsoever.”

On 13th June 2019, it was reported that one of the activists who had been identified as being the subject of his comments to Andrew Marr on 23rd September 2018 (in relation to incident [12]), Mr Richard Millett, was seeking libel damages from Mr Corbyn on the basis of his accusation that “Zionists” had “berated” Manuel Hassassian.

On 31st July 2019, the circumstances of the “Never Again for Anyone–Auschwitz to Gaza” event in [4] were reported once more.

On 1st August 2019, it was reported in The Times that then Labour MP John Mann had stated that the event went against “any form of normal decency,” and that the then Labour MP Louise Ellman had said she was “appalled.” The Labour MP Stephen Kinnock tweeted: “This is now a full-blown crisis for our Party. 3 things must happen today: Jeremy Corbyn must confirm that likening Israel to the Nazis is an anti-semitic [sic] act…the NEC must adopt the IHRA definition in full, and the Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin inquiries have to be halted.” As far as we are aware, Mr Corbyn not comply with Mr Kinnock’s request.

On 1st August 2019, it was reported that photographs and footage had emerged showing Mr Corbyn attending and speaking at a pro-Palestine rally in 2009 at which a variety of antisemitic banners were on prominent display, many comparing Israel with the Nazis. One featured an Israeli flag in which the Star of David had been adapted to form a swastika. Another image showed a child holding a hand-made sign on which was drawn a Star of David next to a swastika, followed by the word “Holocost” [sic]. Other protesters reportedly held banners branding the Jewish state “child killers” and “thirsty for blood,” invoking the imagery and language of the medieval blood libel. Dame Margaret Hodge MP was reported as saying: “It’s appalling. You have got to question why Jeremy chooses to spend his time with people who have such a twisted world view and who are grossly anti-semitic [sic].” A Labour Party spokesperson was quoted as saying: “Like other politicians, [Jeremy Corbyn] has attended many demonstrations, and is obviously not responsible for the banners that other people bring along.”

On 4th August 2019, further details confirming the content of the “Never Again for Anyone–Auschwitz to Gaza” event in [4] emerged.

On 21st September 2019, it was reported that Mr Corbyn had been a signatory to the 2002 Cairo Declaration, in which Israel was accused of perpetrating “genocidal crimes against the Palestinian people.” The document also urged the formation of “solidarity committees which oppose war on Iraq, and the genocidal crimes faced by Palestinians, supporting their right to resistance and struggle for liberation,” whilst failing to acknowledge the many acts of terrorism carried out under the pretext of that “struggle,” accusing the US of protecting Israel from international censure by asserting “false claims” such as supposedly equating “the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people to resist occupation, liberate their land and return to their homes…with terrorism.” Jennifer Gerber, the director of Labour Friends of Israel, was reported as saying: “Jeremy Corbyn’s disturbing obsession with the world’s only Jewish state is once again clear for all to see. This declaration shows not an ounce of sympathy for the hundreds of innocent Israelis who were being brutally murdered at the time by Palestinian terrorists on buses, [in] pizza restaurants and nightclubs. No wonder the Jewish community fears Corbyn becoming Prime Minister.”

On 19th November 2019, it was reported that footage had emerged of a 2008 pro-Palestine rally in London (held to coincide with the 60th anniversary celebrations for the creation of Israel) in which Mr Corbyn could be seen standing by as a speaker (Ismail Patel, chair of the campaign Friends of Al-Aqsa, which has been accused of having links with the terror organisation Hamas) said: “We see the impact of Zionism on Palestinians, but it has had a devastating effect on the Jewish community itself: it has made them immoral in justice. How can you have a community that can celebrate 60 years of dispossession? How can you have a community that celebrates the killings of innocent Palestinian people? This is what Zionism has done to Judaic faith.” Mr Patel went on to praise the group Jews for Justice [for Palestinians] and the anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta, saying they had “gone above Zionism and seen Zionism for what it is.” As the speaker left the stage, Mr Corbyn could be seen apparently congratulating him by patting him on the arm.

On 25th November 2019, the Chief Rabbi, Lord Mirvis, wrote in The Times, condemning the Labour Party’s handling of complaints of antisemitism, calling claims that the Party is “doing everything” it reasonably can to tackle anti-Jewish racism and that it has “investigated every single case” a “mendacious fiction,” and stating: “It is a failure to see this as a human problem rather than a political one. It is a failure of culture. It is a failure of leadership. A new poison – sanctioned from the top – has taken root in the Labour Party.”

On 26th November 2019, Mr Corbyn was interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Neil. Mr Neil’s first question to Mr Corbyn was to elicit his response to the Chief Rabbi’s intervention, in answer to which Mr Corbyn spoke of having “developed a much stronger process” and of having “sanctioned people that have behaved in an antisemitic way” before talking about the rise of the far-right in Europe.

At this point Mr Neil interjected: “But it’s not the far-right he’s worried about. I’m sure he is worried about the far-right but that’s not the result of this unprecedented intervention. It’s about you and how antisemitism rose as a problem in the Labour Party after you became Leader. Why?” Mr Corbyn responded: “It didn’t rise after I became Leader.”

Mr Neil challenged Mr Corbyn, saying: “You said in the ITV debate that anyone who has committed any antisemitic act in the Labour Party, they’ve been suspended or expelled and you’ve investigated, your words, ‘every single case.’ The Chief Rabbi has called that ‘a mendacious fiction.’ And he’s right, isn’t he?” Mr Corbyn responded: “No, he’s not right.”

Later in the interview, Mr Corbyn was invited by Mr Neil to offer an apology to the British Jewish community for the Labour Party’s antisemitism, but he repeatedly failed to do so.

On 29th November 2019, it was reported that a leaked document appeared to cast doubt on Mr Corbyn’s claim to Andrew Neil that he had “strengthened processes” in the period since a Labour member had received a simple “reminder of conduct” in spite of having shared Holocaust-denial material, and that “during the last few months” he had “proposed that egregious cases should be fast-tracked.” An investigation by television journalists, however, located an internal Labour Party document reportedly showed that as recently as mid-October 2019, a senior party insider hadn’t expected the policy to be implemented until after the general election. On 4th December 2019, an unknown “party insider” described as a “prominent”, “vocal” supporter of Mr Corbyn contacted the investigators and claimed that the policy was in place, but nevertheless confirmed it had only been used once, and that lesser sanctions, rather than suspension or expulsion had been applied.

It was reported that the Labour Party did not initially respond to a request to provide proof that such a policy had been implemented, but subsequently pointed to remarks made by Labour’s General Secretary Jennie Formby in Jewish News on 27th November 2019 (published after Mr Corbyn’s BBC interview, and after the request for confirmation about the new policy was made), in which she said: “Just this month a number of members have been expelled using these new powers.”

Doubt was also cast on Mr Corbyn’s assertion during a leaders’ debate that “Where anyone has committed any antisemitic acts or made any antisemitic statements, they are either suspended or expelled from the party and we have investigated every single case.” It was noted that, according to figures sent by Jennie Formby to Labour MPs, between April 2018 and February 2019, dozens of Labour members had been given sanctions other than suspension or expulsion. It was also noted that, according to a Labour Party source, a complaint would only be registered as a “case” (and thus be included in the official figures) if an investigation was launched. We also note that, in November 2019, the prospective parliamentary candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Maria Carroll, for example, was reported by Welsh Labour to the national Party for investigation over her role in administering a group which provided support for Labour members facing disciplinary action for alleged antisemitism (including Holocaust denial), but the Party decided not to do so.

On December 3rd 2019, Mr Corbyn appeared as a guest on ITV’s This Morning. One of the presenters, Philip Schofield, challenged Mr Corbyn over the Chief Rabbi’s assertion that “Jews are justifiably anxious about the idea of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister,” citing his words: “A poison sanctioned from the top has taken root in Labour.” Mr Schofield then invited Mr Corbyn to apologise to the Jewish community for antisemitism, becoming increasingly persistent, until Mr Corbyn said: “Obviously, I’m very sorry for everything that’s happened, but I want to make this clear: I am dealing with it. I have dealt with it. Other parties are also affected by antisemitism. Candidates have been withdrawn by the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives and by us, because of it. We do not accept it in any form whatsoever. And I think the Chief Rabbi’s comments really ought to be taken for what they are…”

At the time of writing, on 3rd December 2019, there is no evidence that Mr Corbyn has ever been censured or disciplined by the Labour Party for his actions and comments.

Campaign Against Antisemitism is grateful to activists whose research contributed to this report.

Rating

Campaign Against Antisemitism has rated the Party’s handling of this matter as “bad”. Our rating system is explained in our methodology. This case was last updated on 4th December 2019.

Justice, justice, you shall pursue - צדק צדק תרדף
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