Yasmine Dar, a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), has denied that antisemitism is an institutional problem in a blog post for Labour List.
The comments were in response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) announcement on Tuesday that they 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.
She wrote that: “I’m in favour of radical reforms to Labour’s disciplinary procedures so that we can more swiftly kick out the small number of antisemites in our ranks. But as a member of the national executive committee, I haven’t seen any evidence that this prejudice among a minority of members is an institutional problem.”
Ms Dar, who is also a Manchester City councillor, minimised the problem of antisemitism in Labour, writing: “Before you rush to judgement, let’s revisit the facts. Recently published data showed that complaints received by the party about antisemitism related to just 0.1% of party members. There is a larger group of members who have dismissed or downplayed the existence of antisemitism.”
She defended Labour’s response to antisemitism, writing: “We launched an inquiry and we have introduced a wide range of measures to improve our procedures” and praising Jeremy Corbyn whom she claimed “has written e-mails to all members, appealed to supporters in video messages, written opinion pieces and spoken in interviews about the ways in which antisemitism has manifested on the left. He has clearly stated that anyone who spreads antisemitic poison does not do so in his or the party’s name.”
Ms Dar also accused the “Labour right” of being part of a conspiracy to undermine Mr Corbyn, claiming: “Our party’s bureaucracy was controlled by the Labour right until last year, who — recent leaked e-mails suggest — may have sat on antisemitism cases to destabilise Jeremy’s leadership.”
She also claimed that the EHRC is being party political for not holding an investigation into “racism and Islamophobia within the Conservative Party” at the same time, concluding that: “What the EHRC has missed is an opportunity to rise above party politics and address deep rooted inequalities within our society. Instead of separate investigations into Labour and the Tories, the EHRC could have launched a joint inquiry into both, and prejudice in politics more broadly. Instead, we will see political point scoring, which does nothing to protect the interests of minority communities.”