Published: Fri, July 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Labour split over anti-Semitism controversy after Panorama report

Labour split over anti-Semitism controversy after Panorama report

"Even if some in the party did not want to hear what they had to say, it is unacceptable to attempt to undermine their integrity and characters in this manner".

Emails shown to Panorama reveal that Seumas Milne, Mr Corbyn's director of communications, tried to instigate a review of how anti-semitic complaints were being dealt with, telling Labour's Disputes Team in March a year ago that "something's going wrong and we're muddling up political disputes with racism".

That former officials tasked with presiding over internal inquiries felt it necessary to break non-disclosure agreements to express their misgivings speaks volumes about the scale of the scandal - and why Mr Corbyn needs to take action now to help reassure all those who feel let down by his mealy-mouthed approach.

Labour remarked that the BBC selectively quoted Milne in that the party said the full sentence of his email began with, "But if we're more than very occasionally using disciplinary action against Jewish members for anti-Semitism, something's going wrong ..."

"I am shocked, chilled and appalled by what I've just seen on Panorama", he tweeted.

"They are not "disaffected", they have been incredibly courageous".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I consider it every day and I grill myself every day because it is so hard to stay in this party".

And yet I cannot believe that anyone could watch the programme I did and not be moved by the testimony of members like Stephane, who spoke of being harassed by another member who made a video calling him a "fucking Jew".

Lord Triesman, a former Labour general secretary and foreign office minister, said the party and its leadership are "institutionally anti-Semitic".

Reacting to the documentary, Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock said: "The shocking evidence shown in the devastating and heartbreaking Panorama documentary makes it clearer than ever that the Labour Party has deeply embedded institutional antisemitism in its processes, culture and leadership".

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"It showed interference in what is supposed to be an independent process". The Labour Party strongly denies the allegation and insists it is committed to fighting racism.

One member said, "I joined the Labour Party because of my Jewish values" but had "been the unfortunate victim of a lot of antisemitism within the Labour party, and stuff I never thought I'd receive in 2019, let alone in the party I thought was anti-racist".

The group is asking all members of the Labour Party in Brighton and Hove to sign up to support its ten point plan for tackling antisemitism in the Labour Party at both local and national level. "For as long as the Labour Party is in Jeremy Corbyn's grip, it can not be a force for good".

"Whether he himself is an anti-Semite or not is an irrelevance".

Mr Kawczynski said: "My family were shot at in the Second World War".

Britain's Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn came under renewed pressure over anti-Semitism on Thursday after a string of former officials spoke out about the party's failure to tackle discrimination in a BBC documentary.

"We stand in solidarity with Jewish people, and we're taking decisive action to root out anti-Semitism from our movement and society".

A 2015 Panorama episode Ware produced on Corbyn made false claims and was widely denounced as a "hatchet job", while a 2005 program Ware produced about British Muslims was slammed as "McCarthyite" and "disgusting" - the latter by a former Panorama journalist.

Sky News has contacted Labour to ask for an interview in the wake of the Panorama broadcast, but the party has said no one is available.

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