Jeremy Corbyn: Labour must face 'unsettling truth' that 'small number' of members 'hold antisemitic views'

The Labour leader launches antisemitism website to 'educate' members ahead of emergency meeting


Labour has launched a website dedicated to educating its members about antisemitism so they are better able to "confront bigotry”.

The launch of the website was accompanied by a video from Jeremy Corbyn that was first published last year, in which he acknowledged that the party had a problem with anti-Jewish racism. 

The site titled “No Place For Anti-Semitism”, was sent out to party members along side a email from Mr Corbyn in which he said: "We must face up to the unsettling truth that a small number of Labour members hold antisemitic views and a larger number don't recognise antisemitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories.”

The Jewish Labour Movement said the attempt by the Labour to produce a resource to tackle hate was "too little, far too late."

While Dave Rich, deputy communications director of the Community Security Trust, said that while there were "decent lines"  included in the page about antisemitism "using a year-old video by Corbyn in which he promised all sorts of things that he and Labour then didn't do just reminds us why they can't fix this problem on their own."

The move by Labour comes following an explosive BBC Panorama documentary that accused key aides to Mr Corbyn of intervening in antisemitism disciplinary cases against members. And as Mr Corbyn and his shadow cabinet have been warned that the "bunker mentality around the leader is causing immense damage to the Labour Party,” in a new letter sent to Mr Corbyn and his shadow cabinet ahead of Monday's emergency debate on antisemitism.

Before the BBC's Panorama was broadcast and after it had aired, the party hit out at the programme describing it as misleading and inaccurate. 

The party also called whistleblowers  former staffers of having "axes to grind.”

The move to attack former staffers and whistleblowers was met with criticism from more than 200 current and former members of staff who condemned Mr Corbyn’s office for trying to “smear” the ex staff.

Labour staff who are members of the GMB Union called on Mr Corbyn to apologise for the attacks on whistleblowers, while 67 peers took out a national newspaper advert attacking the handling of the crisis.

On Monday, Mr Corbyn faces an emergency meeting with shadow cabinet ministers over the crisis.

The email sent to members on Sunday was accompanied by a three-minute YouTube video in which Mr Corbyn sets out what his party is doing to address the problem.


He said: “Hatred towards Jewish people is rising in many parts of the world. Our party is not immune from that poison – and we must drive it out from our movement.

“While other political parties and some of the media exaggerate and distort the scale of the problem in our party, we must face up to the unsettling truth that a small number of Labour members hold antisemitic views and a larger number don’t recognise antisemitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories.”

He added: “The evidence is clear enough. The worst cases of antisemitism in our party have included Holocaust denial, crude Jewish-banker stereotypes, conspiracy theories blaming Israel for 9/11 or every war on the Rothschild family, and even one member who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood.”

A JLM spokesperson said: "After countless examples over the past four years of Labour failing to tackle anti-Jewish racism, a minisite simply isn’t going to be enough to heal the deep divides between the Party and the Jewish community.

"Labour has effectively cut JLM, it's sole Jewish affiliate, out of training. If the Party was truly committed to political education as an antidote to antisemitism, they would give the authority and agency back to us, rather than censoring our content. 

"Putting out a superficial leaflet, rather than reforming its disciplinary structures, won’t be enough to detoxify many parts of the Party, both online and off, let alone the restore trust and rebuild the relationship with Jewish members."

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, expressed scepticism over the attempt by Labour to deal with the issue.

Writing on Twitter she said: "Under the shadow of the @EHRC investigation, critical meetings with his MPs and peers, after nearly 4 years of a stream of anti-Jewish racism ignored, brushed under the carpet, even allowed to thrive, *now* he apparently wants to address it? Please excuse my misgivings."

The Labour leader called on members to make use of the website and “engage with the materials we are producing, which will be placed on a page on our website, along with other resources, so our movement can be the strongest anti-racist force in our country.

“I have learned so much, I hope you will too, so that together we can fight these evils.”

Speaking to camera he said he was “sorry for the hurt that has been caused to many Jewish people.

“We have been too slow in processing disciplinary cases of mostly online antisemitic abuse by party members.

“We are acting to speed this process up.

“People who hold antisemitic views have no place in the Labour Party.

“They maybe few - the number of cases over the past three years represents less than 0.1% of Labour’s membership of more than half a million - but one is too many.”

He sought to warn some of his most vocal supporters, who share antisemitic abuse that “people who use antisemitic poison need to understand - you do not do it in my name, nor the name of my party.”

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