Labour rejected antisemitism complaint as 'media event' and accused campaigners of using 'hostile' sources

The complaint raised concerns over Jeremy Corbyn’s behaviour but party's Governance and Legal Unit said 'a clear misuse of the Party’s complaints process'


DURHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his speech during the 135th Durham Miners Gala on July 13, 2019 in Durham, England. Over two decades after the last pit closed in the Durham coalfield the Miners Gala or Big Meeting as it is known locally remains as popular as ever with close to 200,000 people expected to attend this year. The gala forms part of the culture and heritage of the area and represents the communal values of the North East of England. The gala sees traditional colliery brass bands march through the city ahead of their respective pit banners before pausing to play outside the County Hotel building where union leaders, invited guests and dignitaries gather before they then continue to the racecourse area for a day of entertainment and speeches. Beginning in 1871 the gala is the biggest trade union event in Europe and is part of an annual celebration of socialism. This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the Durham Miners’ Association. The gala is hosted by the DMA who also provide a range of services for its members, made up from former Durham miners, including compensation claims, benefit information, tribunal representation and legal advice. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)


Labour accused antisemitism campaigners of turning their official complaint into a "media event" when it refused to investigate their claims, it has been revealed. 

A report submitted to Labour into alleged antisemitic incidents surrounding Jeremy Corbyn was rejected by the party’s Governance and Legal Unit, which accused campaigners of pre-emptively alerting the press at the beforehand.

Labour rejected the complaint, submitted by Labour Against Antisemitism, surrounding Mr Corbyn’s past behaviour which included laying in 2014 a wreath at a ceremony in honour of, among others, terrorists behind the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.

The party complained that details of the submitted complaint had been leaked to The Observer during a bank holiday weekend — when no staff were present to respond to the email.

The report by LAAS raised Mr Corbyn’s defence of Sheikh Raed Salah who used antisemitic blood libels and his membership of the Facebook group Palestine Live, which was found to be awash with antisemitic material.

However the Governance and Legal Unit labelled the complaint, which listed 21 incidents, as a “clear misuse of the party’s complaints process”.

A Labour source told the Jewish Telegraph the evidence submitted in 2018 by the group “did not reach the threshold for a potential breach of the Party rules”.

Labour ruled that the complaints were “not warranted”.

Labour's response to the complaint said: “Turning the submission of a complaint into a media event — especially where it is briefed to the media before the Party’s complaints team has become aware of it — is a clear misuse of the Party’s complaints process.”

According to Labour, the sources LAAS cited in the report, which included blogs from well-known antisemitism campaigners, national and Jewish Newspapers, were “hostile”.

The party said the report was made up “overwhelmingly” by “a compendium of links to hostile media and commentator coverage of a series of events already in the public domain and to which the Party or Mr Corbyn himself have variously responded.

“That coverage relates largely to the contentious topic of conflict in the Middle East, reflecting disagreement between the authors and Mr Corbyn about its history, nature and how it might be resolved.”

The response from the party went on to warn the complainants that it would not “allow its procedures to be misused or manipulated for the purpose of advancing any particular strand of political opinion.

“We stress that the Party is entirely happy to receive and pursue properly founded complaints about alleged rule breaches by members in the context of antisemitism.

“But this kind of misuse of our processes will not be tolerated. It hampers the fight against antisemitism by pointlessly consuming time and effort that could otherwise be devoted to dealing with genuine allegations of misconduct.”

A Labour spokesman told the Jewish Telegraph: “The Labour Party looks into all complaints in line with our rules and procedures. We cannot comment on individual complaints.”

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