Last week, Campaign Against Antisemitism further exposed the Labour Party’s claims that it “takes all forms of antisemitism seriously” as a lie. We revealed that prominent Labour activist Jennifer James had been suspended by the Party thirteen days after finding herself on one particular side of an ongoing debate concerning the rights of self-defining trans women within the Labour Party, yet the Party had taken no action when the same individual had been reported months earlier for straightforward breaches of Labour’s new rules and adopted definition regarding antisemitism.
When we asked the Labour Party to comment on this discrepancy, their spokesperson’s response, in full, was: “The Labour Party takes all allegations of antisemitism extremely seriously and is committed to challenging it in all its forms. All complaints are investigated and acted upon as quickly as possible in line with Labour’s rules and procedures.”
When the response to clear evidence that the Labour Party does not investigate and act on antisemitism seriously and quickly is to issue a cut-and-paste statement that they do the very thing we have proved they do not, one’s initial reaction might be to laugh at the self-satirising hypocrisy of the response. However, the shabby and dismissive nature of that response is significant in an atmosphere in which prominent figures in the Labour Party have pursued a policy of dismissing claims of antisemitism as baseless, implying that Jews who make such claims are liars with hidden motives.
The case of Jennifer James will now stand as a benchmark. It proves that when the Labour Party has a mind to, those who they believe have views inconsistent with membership of the Party can be suspended within two weeks. In the case of Ms James and in all future cases, any failure to act within two weeks of an allegation of antisemitism can and should be used to shame the Party.