Labour is handed a dossier of 150 anti-Semitic incidents

Labour is handed a dossier of 150 anti-Semitic incidents

Labour has been handed a dossier of anti-Semitic complaints relating to five more of its council candidates, it emerged today.

The party’s compliance unit, which is responsible for ensuring members and candidates follow Labour rules, was handed the dossier by the Labour Against Anti-Semitism campaign group.

It follows a series of reports about other council candidates who have been suspended by Labour ahead of the elections on May 3. 

Labour yesterday suspended Roy Smart as a candidate in Tunbridge Wells over a series of vile Facebook posts questioning the Holocaust.  

In other developments today, the head of Momentum Jon Lansman admitted the problem of anti-Semitism inside Labour was worse than both he and Jeremy Corbyn had realised.

It comes as  Labour’s new General Secretary Jennie Formby has written to party members vowing to crack down on anti-Semitism.

The head of Momentum Jon Lansman (pictured today in London) admitted today the problem of anti-Semitism inside Labour was worse than both he and Jeremy Corbyn had realised

Mr Corbyn (pictured today leaving home in London) faces further criticism today after he attended a Seder hosted by a far-left Jewish group which has called for the destruction of Israel

Mr Lansman, who is Jewish, said the explosion of the racism row and seen a marked rise in ‘unconscious bias’ against Jews in his social media feeds.

He called for widespread training in Labour to fight off low-level anti-Semitism and rigorous investigation to tackle serious cases.

Labour’s new General Secretary vows to crack down on anti-Semitism 

Jennie Formby (pictured with Jeremy Corbyn) has written to Labour members on her first day in the job to say the party will get on with tackling the abuse 

Labour’s new General Secretary has vowed to ‘eradicate the stain of anti-Semitism in the party.

Jennie Formby has written to Labour members on her first day in the job to say the party will  get on with introducing the recommendations of Shami Chakrabarti’s report into anti-Semitism. 

Labour has faced heavy criticism for failing to act on the report.

And a leaked email from the outgoing General Secretary Ian McNicol said Jeremy Corbyn’s office had been to blame for the delay.

In her email today, Ms Formby – a close ally of Mr Corbyn – said: ‘This week I will be moving to ensure the full implementation of the Chakrabarti report and introducing new procedures to deal with complaints and disciplinary cases.

‘The stain of anti-Semitic attitudes must be completely eradicated within the Labour Party – we are the party for people of all races and faiths, the party of full equality for all, or we are nothing.

‘Likewise, I will tackle any manifestation of misogyny, bullying or abuse of anyone, as Jeremy Corbyn has pledged.’  

Mr Corbyn faces further criticism today after he attended a Seder hosted by a far-left Jewish group which has called for the destruction of Israel.

Mr Lansman told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘Jeremy is a lifelong anti-racist and I think it came as something of a shock to him to be described as being some kind of racist, of harbouring people with anti-Semitic views in the party that he now leads.

‘I think Jeremy’s awareness has grown, as it has for all of us.

‘It’s not that there is a widespread problem with Holocaust denial but there is a widespread unconscious bias. 

‘The longer that the debate has gone on, the more I have noticed on my Facebook feed are people who dismiss anti-Semitism as an issue in a way that you would not dismiss Islamaphobia as an issue.

‘We need a widespread programme of education and training within the Labour Party to help people recognise the dangers of certain words and language that can be sensitive.’ 

Mr Lansman said words such as ‘Zionism’ held different meanings to different people and that there was insufficient understanding across the party.

He said ‘everybody’ in the party, including those in charge of investigations, needed to be aware of the issues.  

The new dossier of claims against Labour candidates, revealed by BuzzFeed, named candidates in Newcastle, London, Lancashire and Suffolk. 

Overall it contains 150 separate complaints. Labour MP Wes Streeting told the site: ‘The volume as well as the content is appalling. 

‘Since Jeremy Corbyn issued his statement acknowledging the problem and promising a militant fightback many of his supporters haven’t got the message, abusing Labour MPs who have had the courage to call it out.

‘We need more decisive action from the Labour Party and the NEC.’  

Roy Smart, a candidate in Tunbridge Wells, appeared to share links on social media to a site in 2015 calling itself a ‘Holocaust Deprogramming Course’

One of Mr Smart’s Facebook posts linked to a ‘Holocaust deprogramming course’ and said it should not be illegal to question whether it happened 

In another post, Mr Smart claimed closing down debate on whether the Holocaust happened was about ‘power and control’ 

Euan Philipps, spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism, told BuzzFeed: ‘This is appalling. The councillors and candidates on this list have proven recent histories of antisemitism and should have been expelled. 

‘Indeed, many have previously been reported by Labour Against Antisemitism to Labour’s compliance unit.

‘Instead, they have not only been readmitted to the party but allowed to stand as Labour candidates and then sit as Labour councillors. It is a tacit endorsement by the Labour Party of a level of racial hatred not seen since the 1930s.’

A Labour Party spokesman said: ‘The Labour Party is committed to challenging and campaigning against antisemitism in all its forms.

‘All complaints of antisemitism are taken extremely seriously. These are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken. We do not comment on individual cases.’

Ms Formby – a close ally of Mr Corbyn – has today emailed party members to vow to crack down on the abuse.

She said: ‘This week I will be moving to ensure the full implementation of the Chakrabarti report and introducing new procedures to deal with complaints and disciplinary cases.

‘The stain of anti-Semitic attitudes must be completely eradicated within the Labour Party – we are the party for people of all races and faiths, the party of full equality for all, or we are nothing.

‘Likewise, I will tackle any manifestation of misogyny, bullying or abuse of anyone, as Jeremy Corbyn has pledged. ‘

Labour has faced heavy criticism for failing to act on the report. 

Mr Smart, a candidate in Tunbridge Wells, was suspended yesterday after he appeared to share a series of vile links on social media to a site in 2015 calling itself a ‘Holocaust Deprogramming Course’.

Another post from September 2017 said: ‘People being allowed to question if the Holocaust happened is not the same as being a Holocaust denier.’ 

Mr Smart will be replaced on the ballot paper by another Labour candidate for the May 3 elections.  

Confirming Mr Smart’s suspension, a Labour spokeswoman said: ‘Labour takes all complaints of anti-Semitism extremely seriously, which are fully investigated and appropriate disciplinary action taken in line with our rules and procedures.

‘Anti-Semitism has absolutely no place in the Party, and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it, in all its forms.’  

The new developments came as a shadow minister said Labour should resist calls to instantly expel anyone accused of anti-Semitism and deal with it in its own way.   

Stephen Pound vowed his party would ‘clean up’ the allegations and admitted there was a ‘real problem’ that would cost the party votes.

But he insisted the allegations were being used to attack Jeremy Corbyn‘s leadership of Labour and said the party should resist calls to immediately ‘sling out’ members based on any allegation without following party processes. 

Accusations of anti-Semi

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