Following the BBC’s broadcast on 10 July of the Panorama programme “Is Labour Antisemitic?”, aLabour Party spokesperson issued the following statement, that can be found here:
“We completely reject any claim that Labour is antisemitic. We stand in solidarity with Jewish people, and we’re taking decisive action to root out antisemitism from our movement and society.
“The Panorama programme was not a fair or balanced investigation. It was a seriously inaccurate, politically one-sided polemic, which breached basic journalistic standards, invented quotes and edited emails to change their meaning. It was an overtly biased intervention by the BBC in party political controversy.
“An honest investigation into antisemitism in Labour and wider society is in the public interest. The Panorama team instead pre-determined an answer to the question posed by the programme’s title.
“No proper and serious attempt was made to understand our current procedures for dealing with antisemitism, which is clearly essential to reach a fair and balanced judgement. And Panorama distorted and manipulated the truth and misrepresented evidence to present a biased and selective account.
“We complained in advance to the BBC over the way the programme was put together and its choice of a presenter who has expressed overt personal and political hostility to Jeremy Corbyn’s politics. We will be pursuing complaints at every level.
“The Labour Party will fully investigate any complaints concerning the antisemitic incidents reported by party members in interviews in the programme.
“Labour stands in solidarity with Jewish people and is fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and its organisations.
“Despite claims made in the programme, Labour is taking decisive action against antisemitism. Since Jennie Formby became General Secretary the rate at which antisemitism cases have been dealt with has increased more than four-fold.
“We will build on the improvements to our procedures made under Jennie Formby, and continue to act against this repugnant form of racism.”
1) Support the Labour Party, its Leader Jeremy Corbyn and its General Secretary Jennie Formby
In February 2019 CLPD issued a statement including the following points:
“The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) stands fully in support of the Labour Party, its Leader Jeremy Corbyn and its General Secretary Jennie Formby, against the unfounded allegations being made against the Party and its disciplinary processes.”
“Contrary to suggestions in the media that antisemitism is ‘normalised’ within Labour, the opposite is in fact the case. The Party leadership and General Secretary are totally committed to the elimination of all forms of prejudice, including antisemitism, across society and also where such views exist within the Labour Party.”
The full CLPD statement can be read here.
2) Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is a crucial ally in the fight against antisemitism
In February 2019 the Guardian published a letter, signed by over 200 Jewish members and supporters of the Labour Party, that included the following points:
“We believe that the Labour party under the progressive leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is a crucial ally in the fight against bigotry and reaction. His lifetime record of campaigning for equality and human rights, including consistent support for initiatives against antisemitism, is formidable. His involvement strengthens this struggle.”
“We urge all who wish to see an end to bigotry and racism, and who seek a more just society, to give their support to the Labour party.”
“Labour is correct to recognise that while prejudice against Jewish people is deplorable, criticism of Israel’s government and policies can and must be made.”
The full letter can be read here.