Labour Party investigated for anti-Semitism by UK government human rights commission

By Chris Marsden
8 March 2019

The announcement by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) of a statutory investigation of the British Labour Party is a major escalation of what are clearly state-orchestrated efforts to destabilise the party and remove its elected leadership.

After months of slanderous campaigning by Blairite right-wingers, Zionists, Conservatives and a scurrilous media, bogus accusations of widespread “left-wing” anti-Semitism could now end up in criminal proceedings against the Labour Party.

The EHRC stated yesterday, “Having received a number of complaints regarding anti-Semitism in the Labour party, we believe Labour may have unlawfully discriminated against people because of their ethnicity and religious beliefs.

“Our concerns are sufficient for us to consider using our statutory enforcement powers. As set out in our enforcement policy, we are now engaging with the Labour Party to give them an opportunity to respond.”

This is blatant politically motivated interference. The complainants referred to are the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) and the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA). The JLM is led by Blairite opponents of party leader Jeremy Corbyn. The CAA is registered as a charity but acts as a political advocate for Zionism and the Israeli state and has organised numerous campaigns against the Labour “left.”

The EHRC has extraordinary legal powers, granted under the 2006 Equalities Act, as updated in 2010, which was passed by the Labour government of Tony Blair.

The Commission can institute legal proceedings, including judicial review, and make applications to court for injunctions. An investigatory process could open a full inquiry under section 20 of the 2006 Act within two weeks. This would include demands that Labour hand over documents, emails and other evidence to the state, as well as agree to the interrogation of its staff.

The only previous intervention by the EHRC into a political party was against the fascist British National Party. It ended in a ludicrous agreement that the BNP revise its racist constitution to allow black and minority membership.

The Labour Party has remained silent over the anti-democratic implications of the EHRC’s investigation, saying only, “We completely reject any suggestion the party has acted unlawfully and will be cooperating fully with the EHRC … Antisemitism complaints received since April 2018 relate to about 0.1 percent of our membership, but one anti-Semite in our party is one too many.”

The Zionists were ecstatic. Gideon Falter, chairman of CAA, told the Jewish Chronicle, “It is a sad indictment that the once great anti-racist Labour Party is now being investigated by the equality and human rights regulator it established just a decade ago.”

The JLM described the EHRC investigation as “a fully independent inquiry, not encumbered by corrupted internal practices. … Everything that has happened in the months since our referral supports our view that the Labour Party is now institutionally anti-Semitic.”

The Jewish Chronicle noted that the EHRC can “impose an action plan on the party.” The political basis for determining whether Labour has been discriminatory towards Jews and any “action plan” will no doubt be judged by adherence to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which links anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism and which has provided the political bedrock of the right-wing destabilisation campaign in the Labour Party. It asserts that it is anti-Semitic to deny “the Jewish people the right to self-determination” and to describe the State of Israel as “a racist endeavour.”

The decision of the EHRC to accept the complaints of the JLM and CAA as the basis for action is extraordinary, given that both are leading political participants in a bitterly contested faction struggle.

The JLM is the successor organisation to Poale Zion (Labour Zionism) and is affiliated to the World Zionist Organisation and the World Labour Zionist Movement. On Wednesday, at aggregates in London and Manchester, JLM delegates rejected a motion to disaffiliate from the Labour Party prior to an annual general meeting in early April. However, Vice Chair Mike Katz told the Evening Standard his members were staying “with the absolute purpose of fighting and making it clear this has to be the last chance saloon” for the Labour Party.

Even the CAA’s charitable status is hotly contested, due to its overwhelming concern with attacks on the left and declared pro-Zionist political agenda. Its first public act was to organise an August 2014 rally in central London to oppose criticisms of the bloody Israeli military offensive against Gaza.

In February 2017, a letter to the Guardian was signed by 250 academics, protesting the CAA's role in intimidating students on university campuses. The CAA had called on its supporters to “record, film, photograph and get witness evidence” of student protests during Israel Apartheid Week to "take it up with the university, students’ union or even the police.” Signatories denounced the CAA’s “outrageous interferences with free expression” and “attacks on academic freedom … in the interests of Israel under the thin disguise of concern about anti-Semitism.” 

In August 2018, it was the CAA that organised a demonstration outside Labour’s headquarters accusing Corbyn and the Labour Party of anti-Semitism. This was accompanied by a change.org petition, “Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite and must go,” featuring the slogan describing Labour as “For the many not the Jew.” The petition called on Labour MPs to propose a challenger to Corbyn or initiate a vote of no confidence.

A counter petition against the CAA was submitted by Jewish anti-Zionist activist Tony Greenstein, “To Get the Charity Commission to Deregister the Zionist Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.” It described “the fact that the CAA is officially a registered charity” as “outrageous.” Greenstein is presently suing the CAA for libel after he was described as a “notorious anti-Semite.”

The Charity Commission’s spokeswoman said it was assessing this and other expressions of concern. She said, “Charities are permitted to campaign and engage in political activity to further their charitable purposes,” but “must always guard its independence, and ensure it remains independent, neutral and balanced in any engagement with or activities involving political parties.”

A note was added to the top of the CAA anti-Corbyn petition saying, “We have received flags from our users that the facts in this petition may be contested. You should consider researching this issue before signing or sharing.”

The Blairites have made clear the political aim of the move they played a central role in initiating.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan “welcomed” the announcement, claiming that Labour had been “too slow” and “too lax” in responding to the complaints about anti-Semitism and that the “impression” had been created that “there is a hierarchy when it comes to racism and skin colour is more important than being Jewish.”

Dame Margaret Hodge MP, who last year screamed in Corbyn’s face, in Parliament, that he was a “f---ing racist anti-Semite,” said she would now “like to see Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle taken out of the frame and not being allowed to play a role.”

Her ally, John Mann MP, was blunter still, stating, “Obviously there will be resignations from those in power as this fully unfolds.”

The situation facing Corbyn’s supporters grows more serious by the hour. In the past three years, the rank-and-file have seen their overwhelmingly popular demand to expel the Blairites thwarted again and again by Corbyn and his inner circle and their grovelling before the right wing.

This left the Blairites free to redouble their witch-hunting efforts, designed to take back their undisputed control of the party apparatus, this time with the active collaboration of Corbyn, et al. But even this is not enough to slake their political bloodlust. The path has now been opened for criminal proceedings and a de facto state takeover of the party’s disciplinary procedures that will inevitably end in mass expulsions.

 

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