Jewish Voice For Labour urges EHRC to ignore antisemitism that is merely 'abusive and insulting'

Pro-Corbyn fringe group urges watchdog to limit its scope of investigation of Jew-hate within Labour


Jewish Voice for Labour has urged the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to ignore antisemitism that is “abusive and insulting to Jews… but not unlawful” in its investigation into Labour's Jew-hate crisis.

In a submission to the inquiry, the pro-Corbyn fringe group also said it was “highly sceptical of the claim that the party has committed unlawful acts of discrimination”.

The EHRC – the public body tasked with enforcing and promoting equality laws – launched a formal investigation into Labour over allegations it “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised” Jews.

It is only the second political party to face such a probe by the EHRC, after the British National Party (BNP).

It will focus on a sample of complaints of alleged unlawful acts since March 2016, as well as Labour’s response to such complaints and “whether [the party’s] rulebook and investigatory and disciplinary processes have enabled or could enable it to deal efficiently with complaints”.

In its report, published on August 2 and amended on August 6, JVL said the investigation’s scope should be limited to only acts which contravene the Equality Act.

It said: “It cannot be directed at antisemitism in general… The Commission must take care to limit its investigation to acts which are not only antisemitic but are acts in breach of the Equality Act.

“The Labour Party may choose to treat some conduct as antisemitic and in breach of party rules which the Equality Act does not prohibit.

“For example, many comments on social media may be abusive and insulting to Jews or some Jews but are not unlawful. Or they may raise issues about Zionism.”

The group also contends that there has been “a protracted political and media campaign”, in which allegations of antisemitism have “often been misreported, and some have been manifestly politically motivated”.

JVL also praised Labour for “greatly improved” processes since April 2018.

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