I am writing to you as the CLP’s black and ethnic minorities officer further to my letter on this subject of 20 April 2018. There have recently been worrying incidents of anti-semitism reported n the media and there continues to be a focus on the party’s efforts to deal with anti-semitism. Unless dealt with diligently and thoroughly, anti-semitic incidents risk lending force to allegations that elements of the Labour movement are institutionally anti-semitic.
I have personally found the recent media coverage relating to anti-semitism in the Labour Party most distressing and depressing. There is a deeply felt disquiet about anti-semitism and the abuse and threats that dedicated parliamentarians have experienced. This has been a significant factor in dedicated MPs wishing to leave the party. It is clearly recognised in the public statements made by leading party members in parliament that within the partly there is regrettably a problem with the speed and efficacy with which complaints are dealt with.
One of the positive developments has been that Lord Falconer has recently been appointed as Labour Party’s anti semitism surveillance commissioner. He said on BBC News (27 February 2019): “The Labour Party is being hugely damaged by allegations of anti-semitism, I am incredibly keen to help as much as I can in dealing with that but there needs to be an earnest and good intent from the party.”
Releasing the disciplinary data covering the previous 10 months for the first time, the party’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, said 96 members had been suspended and 211 had been issued with a notice of investigation. Another 146 had been given a preliminary warning and 220 cases did not have sufficient evidence to proceed. These figures relate to about 0.1% of the 540,000 strong Labour Party membership.
The Labour Party is determined to expunge racism of any kind from the party: Labour is an anti-racist party to its core and has a long and proud history of standing against racism, including anti-semitism.
Even one anti-semite member in our party is one too many. We must be committed to tackling anti-semitism and rooting it out of our party once and for all.
We as party members should welcome and support the steps that are being taken to address the problem and to improve the party’s disciplinary processes. This remains a matter of priority.
1st March 2019