The Jewish former Labour MP, Ruth Smeeth, delivered a blistering rebuke to candidates for the Party’s deputy leadership post at a hustings, telling them that when it came to antisemitism, “you did nothing”.
In fact, she even claimed that some of the candidates “shouted at me for raising” the scandal of antisemitism in the Party, as she lamented that one by one prominent Jewish women MPs in Labour were forced out, quit or lost their seat, with now only one remaining in Parliament.
Addressing the candidates – Angela Rayner, Dawn Butler, Richard Burgon, Ian Murray and Rosena Allin-Khan – Ms Smeeth’s remarked: “I find it very difficult and I’m looking forward to hearing other people’s comments on what they did or did not do over the last three years. But you know that I stood up at every Parliamentary Labour Party [PLP] meeting and called out antisemitism and asked for help. And I didn’t get any. In fact, there have been times where I was dismissed, where colleagues, including some of the people standing for election, shouted at me for raising those issues and shouted at me in my own office for raising those issues.
“And the idea that it should be Jewish women that have to lead this fight by themselves – because that’s what happened, with notable exceptions – is simply a disgrace. So I’m very interested in knowing where people were, I’m very interested in knowing why you were silent, I’m very interested in knowing why it was left to Luciana [Berger], and then me, and Louise [Ellman], and now Margaret [Hodge], who is alone, and for the people in this room, when I stood up at the PLP, when Louise Ellman was sent out and when Louise felt she had to go and said we were going to end up as Jundenfrei [free of Jews], and no-one did anything.
“So this is your responsibility to fix. But more than anything else, you did nothing, and you left it for people like me to lead that fight, and candidly, you should be ashamed.”
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.