Leaked Labour report on antisemitism in the party

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    The leaked labour report commissioned internally by Jane Formby concludes that there was some antisemitism by a small number within the party. Because of the sudden rise in number of new party members, reaching almost 600,000 at some stage, the Governance and Legal Unit, under the leadership of the chair of the NEC (at that time Ian McNichol) were unable to deal efficiently with the complaints. In addition because of factionalism within the party and the priority of some to get rid of Corbyn at all costs, including ensuring loss of elections, the process was further sabotaged by some within the party. It also says that the Leader Office had no influence whatsoever on the investigations, despite widespread allegations at the time.

    This report thoroughly disproves any suggestion that antisemitism is not a problem in the Party, or that it is all a “smear” or a “witch-hunt”. The report’s findings prove the scale of the problem, and could help end the denialism amongst parts of the Party membership which has further hurt Jewish members and the Jewish community.

    This report reveals a litany of mistakes, deficiencies, and missed opportunities to reform, develop and adapt a clearly failing disciplinary system. Since Jennie Formby became General Secretary in 2018, the Party has taken extensive measures to create a functioning disciplinary system capable of dealing with antisemitism complaints at considerable volume and in an appropriate manner, with a high standard of investigations and decision-making. However, this report shows that some problems still continued during this period, and so further extensive work was undertaken in 2019 to improve processes and revisit decisions taken in previous years.

    Further on it names several individuals

    This situation, best characterised as bureaucratic drift and inertia, compounded by attempts to cover up poor performance (in part by, for a brief period, soliciting the involvement of LOTO staff in decisions properly the responsibility of Party HQ alone), led to several negative consequences. The provision of false and misleading information to both LOTO and the General Secretary (both Lord McNicol and subsequently Jennie Formby) by GLU when under the management of Sam Matthew John Stolliday and Emilie Oldknow meant that the scale of the problem was not appreciated.9 By the time a new General Secretary took over Party HQ in April 2018 there was a backlog of cases that had been ongoing, often for years, with little to no progress, and with information on their status and content scattered across different systems and central and regional offices. Some of these were high-profile cases, awaiting decision at NEC or NCC level. There was, further, a hidden backlog of people reported to GLU for antisemitism, but never dealt with or mishandled, many of whom would be re-reported subsequently, or were picked up in spring 2018 as Iain McNicol was leaving.

    The leaking of this document has obviously been damaging to Starmer who is trying to unite the party and a new investigation is being launched to identify the leakers.
    Meanwhile the leak has been criticised heavily from several sources.
    Meanwhile several individuals named in the document are thinking of suing the Labour party mainly for breach of confidentiality. The Lawyer acting on their behalf is well known to long term readers of this blog.
    But of course the original message, that Corbyn was being sabotaged will be lost in this clamour. Further information here and here.
    Just as we thought that Labour’s troubles are over, we have this now, ensuring that the current incompetent government will go on and escape scrutiny.

    #57177 Reply

    Dear Mr Murray,

    Months ago I read your detailed and in-depth analysis (in Consortiumnews) of the Labour Party Report into allegations of antisemitism in the party, and more specifically against Jeremy Corbyn.

    There was a particular point though that I disagreed with you. It was your criticism of Ken Livingstone’s reference to Nazi/Zionist links.

    You could not see the point of that and attributed these links to “misguided Zionists”. In fact you said:

    “On Ken Livingstone, I do not think in the least that Ken is an anti-Semite. I do however think he is wrong. I have always found the discourse around Nazi/Zionist links disturbing and generally anti-Semitic in motivation. Of course there may have been contact at some early stage between Nazis who wished to eradicate Jews from Europe, and Zionists who wished Jews to move to Israel. But what purpose is there in pointing that out? Jewish hatred of the Nazis is indisputable, and any misguided Zionist who tried to deal with them was not therefore a Nazi supporter. It is a pointless discussion with highly unpleasant undertones. How Ken was entrapped into it I struggle to understand.”

    My disagreement with you is that querying Zionist/Nazi links is not, and cannot be, ipso facto, evidence of antisemitism; and, that there is a legitimate purpose in pointing out the links.

    Antisemitism is a form of racism that posits that people identified as Jews are essentially different – and malevolent – from people identified as Gentiles. Introducing a discourse about possible links between Zionists and Nazis is a legitimate historical question, that should be subjected to scientific scrutiny, regardless of the intentions of the originators of such discourse. In the same way it is not inherently antisemitic to ask for evidence of the holocaust – in my opinion a question which is more than adequately answered by Raul Hillberg’s magisterial study “The Destruction of European Jewry”.

    Edwin Black, in “The Transfer Agreement”, demonstrates that Zionists who collaborated with, or supported collaboration with, the Nazis were not some “misguided” off-mainstream types, but included leaders of the Zionist Organisation of Germany, British Board of Jewish Deputies and the American Jewish Congress. They included names like Chaim Weizmann, Nahum Goldman and David ben Gurion.

    The specific purpose of the collaboration was to undermine and destroy a growing and successful international trade boycott of German goods. This was in protest against the Nazi policies against Jews and ‘others’ in the country, and also Hitler’s expansionist, aggressive intentions. The boycotters, who included many Jews (many of whom were Zionists) and Gentiles in their ranks, were demanding that all in German society should form part of the German nation. It was against the relegation some “others” to second —class citizenship. (I appreciate the moral and intellectual force of this demand having grown up in South Africa and participated in the broad anti-apartheid movement inside the country during the 1970s to the 1990s). Instead, had the boycott been strengthened it would certainly have placed enormous pressures on Hitler’s regime in its early years, before it could consolidate. We can only speculate what the outcome of that could have been, but in combination with other anti-collaborationist forces it might have helped to alter the course of history.

    There is another legitimate purpose in exploring the history and meaning of these links. Both Zionism and Nazism are ethno-nationalist, i.e. they posit a biological ethnos, in one case “German Aryan”, in the other “Jewish Semitic”. It is clear from Black’s book that the similarities in their ideologies gave them a mutual understanding and acceptance of each other’s weltanschauungs. Regardless of their negative (or whatever) feelings for each other, they were speaking the same meta-language and this was an important factor in enabling them to make a “deal” with each other. You can contrast this with the Dietrich Boenhoffers’ of this world, for whom on principle there could be no compromise with Nazis and their ideology. Such a reflection would also cast interesting ideas about Israel’s current relationship with extreme right-wing parties like Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) (which sometime ago called for the dismantling of the holocaust memorial in Berlin), right wing Ukrainian military forces (identified by Max Blumenthal of the Gray Zone) and Poland’s right wing government.

    I can include for your information a diagram of the Transfer Agreement about which Black (an ardent Zionist, I should add) writes, with some short notes that summarise the storyline that he sets out. (unfortunately I do not see a way to attach this file to this comment, but I have mailed it to your address – have yet to hear from you though….) Black’s work is meticulously referenced and annotated. I have also come across Lenni Brenner’s “51 documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis”, which is equally comprehensive and detailed, but does not seem to be sourced referenced. Nevertheless in scrutinising these I did not get the impression that he was contradicting what Black and some others (like Hannah Arendt, in “Eichmann in Jerusalem”) have argued.

    I would be very interested to hear your response to this correspondence.

    Kind regards,

    Paul Hendler (Stellenbosch South Africa).
    I am a Jewish South African against the demonisation of the Palestinian People and for a rational discussion of their circumstances.

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