UK Labour Party in turmoil over new anti-Semitism claims


A guest on a panel debate on antisemitism in the Labour party said Labour staffers who have suffered mental health issues and have now blown the whistle on anti-Semitism in the party are a "bunch of wimps" on Thursday.

This comes after eight whistleblowers sounded the alarm on alleged interference in Labour's disciplinary process by Jeremy Corbyn's office on Wednesday evening's airing of Panorama.

Former officials, including the main opposition's former general secretary Iain McNicol, broke non-disclosure agreements to allege that members of Corbyn's inner circle had interfered with investigations into anti-Semitism in the left-wing party.

Labour has denied the claims and written a complaint to the BBC.

He said Ms Formby had "insisted" members of the shadow cabinet should not have the right to see the EHRC submission, but added: "I disagree".

From comments made by members online and in Labour Party meetings, to the series of high profile cases of antisemitism where the Labour Party has either not acted, not acted swiftly enough or failed to give an appropriate sanction.

"There's nearly a permissive culture that people can use anti-Jewish, racist language both in our meetings and to each other on social media and we've failed to address that properly", Watson later told BBC radio.

In regard to Corbyn himself, the program cited, among other things, his defense of a blatantly antisemitic mural; his invitation to tea of Raed Salah, an antisemitic Israeli-Arab preacher who has engaged in the blood libel; his warm words about the terrorist group Hamas; and his claim that he saw the "hand of Israel" behind a jihadist attack on Egyptian soldiers.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell - a close ally of Mr Corbyn - said current staff had put in complaints to the BBC about the accusations made in the Panorama programme.

Mr Watson said the programme was a "watershed moment" and made clear his displeasure with the party's response to it.

'I think what he actually meant to say was, how do we deal with the bad publicity we're getting?'

This week three senior peers have quit the Labour whip amid continuing controversy over anti-Semitism within its ranks.

In a statement, the United Kingdom -based Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said the BBC exposed what the group had been saying about the party and its leader.

"I have always said from the very beginning [the process of dealing with complaints] was too slow and not ruthless enough, but it has improved dramatically now", he said.

"Any allegation of antisemitism", JVL said, "must be taken seriously - and proven cases must be dealt with appropriately".

Others, however, described the program as "damning" for Labour, calling the former Party members who spoke on film "heroes".

THE splits at the very top of Labour over anti-Semitism were self-evident when Jeremy Corbyn's deputy, Tom Watson, went on national radio to respond to allegations on Panorama that complaints from Jewish activists had been downplayed and, potentially, ignored.

"The Labour party will fully investigate any complaints concerning the antisemitic incidents reported by party members in interviews in the programme".

A BBC program probing anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has sparked a furious response from the party, which denounced the report and its producer, who directed an earlier program smearing party leader Jeremy Corbyn, as biased. We stand in solidarity with Jewish people, and we're taking decisive action to root out antisemitism from our movement and society. "The Panorama team instead pre-determined an answer to the question posed by the programme's title".

"This unprecedented exposé of a political party seemingly steeped in institutional racism has uncovered a Labour elite who have, it is alleged, consistently lied to the British Jewish community and to the British electorate", she continued.