11:29 GMT15 August 2020
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    The Labour Party has been embroiled in accusations of systemic antisemitism since the election of former leader Jeremy Corbyn in 2015. His successor, Sir Keir Starmer, has pursued a path of absolute reversal, promising a "zero tolerance" policy towards antisemitism in the party. But are the allegations genuine?

    The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) made a statement on Wednesday demanding the suspension of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn from the party for promoting "conspiracy theories".

    ​In response to a statement by Corbyn, where he said he was "disappointed" in the party's decision to settle the defamation case with former staffers who alleged they had experienced antisemitism within the organisation, CAA said that Labour "became institutionally racist under his leadership" and urged Keir Starmer to issue a suspension.

    Labour decided on Wednesday to settle over the "false and defamatory" comments against seven individuals who made the accusations as part of a BBC Panorama program last year.

    In a statement read in the High Court, the party unreservedly apologised and said it was determined to root out antisemitism within the Labour movement.

    Corbyn described the settlement as “a political decision" that “risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations about action taken to tackle antisemitism in the Labour Party in recent years".

    He cited "legal advice" that the Labour Party had a strong defence and that the leaked Labour report in April, sparking an NEC investigation led by Martin Forde QC the following month, strengthened concerns over some involved in the Panorama allegations.

    "The decision to settle these claims in this way is disappointing, and risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations about action taken to tackle antisemitism in the Labour Party in recent years".

    ​The CAA is not affiliated with the party but previously provided a vocal opposition to Corbyn's leadership and submitted dossiers of complaints to the ongoing Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) inquiry into alleged systemic antisemitism in Labour.

    Joe Glasman, who heads the political investigations team for the CAA, issued a thank you message in December to everyone who "by word, by deed, by protest, by tweet" helped "slaughter" Jeremy Corbyn in 2019.

    Another Side

    The Labour report in question outlines an alternative view on the Panorama report and includes thousands of leaked emails, texts, and Whatsapp messages, revealing widespread subversion against Corbyn and his leadership team including from those who gave testimony in the Panorama documentary.

    Sam Matthews, a former head of the disputes team, claimed that "the mental health of me and my team went through the floor”, after being accused of seeking to undermine the leadership.

    According to the messages leaked reports, however, Matthews worked to see funds diverted from marginal seats during elections in order to support MPs more ideologically aligned with him.

    ​The report also shows Matthews failing to act in order to deal with "hundreds" of antisemitism complaints made to the disputes teams.

    Matthews’ inaction was, according to the report, due to a preoccupation with factional politics. His staff “were bitterly opposed to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, and seem to have been demotivated, or largely interested in work that could advance a factional agenda", the report claims.

    It also details incidents between top Labour staffers verbally abusing black MP and Corbyn ally Dianne Abbott after receiving death threats as well as accusing MP Dawn Butler of making false accusations of anti-black racism against Labour Party staff.

    The report was compiled with the intention of providing context to the EHRC during its antisemitism inquiry.

    Despite the existence of this alternative view, David Evans, Labour general secretary, wrote to staff regarding the Panorama apology, claiming that it does not prejudices the Forde Inquiry.

    ​It would not be the first time that Labour policy has been weaponised in an effort to attack Corbyn. During the talks last year over establishing an emergency coalition government of opposition parties, defector MP's from the pro-EU group 'Change UK' demanded the Labour leaders resignation as part of a deal to remove the Conservative government and hold a second Brexit referendum.

    Gavin Shuker, a former Labour MP who joined Change UK, later admitted in an interview with the Guardian saying that he "helped prevent Jeremy Corbyn from leading us through a huge national crisis".

    Corbyn stepped down from the position of Labour leader in April to be succeeded by Keir Starmer, following the party's landslide defeat in the December 2019 general election.

    Tags:
    Jeremy Corbyn, Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), antisemitism, Labour Party
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