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Panorama antisemitism whistleblowers write letter thanking the community for its support

Letter from the seven ex Labour staffers praises the 'practical and emotional support' offered to them by the JLC, CST and JLM organisations

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The seven BBC Panorama whistle-blowers who lifted the lid on antisemitism within the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn have written a thank-you letter to the Jewish community for the support shown to them since the programme was broadcast. 

The former party officials - Kat Buckingham, Mike Creighton, Dan Hogan, Sam Matthews, Martha Robinson, Ben Westerman and Louise Withers Green – praised “the practical and emotional support we received, notably from the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust among others” after ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’ was aired in July 2019. 

They also recognised the role of the Jewish Labour Movement in providing themselves and 65 other whistle-blowers the confidence to come forward and contribute” to the soon to be Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into Labour’s handling of antisemitism. 

Without the support of JLM, the seven wrote, “it is doubtful that any of this would have been possible.” 

The ex-Labour staffers also recognised the role of the JC and other Jewish media in continuing to publish reports of antisemitism in Mr Corbyn’s party. 

They said that “if it was not for this newspaper and other Jewish media not giving up when others might, much of this story may never have been exposed to public scrutiny.” 

The letter also poured scorn on claims made by pro-Corbyn supporters – including Unite union chief Len McCluskey – in recent weeks that Labour’s High Court apology and libel settlement to them went against official legal advice given to the party by lawyers. 

They wrote: “Recently, the Labour Party, under new leadership, apologised unreservedly to us in court, 'for the distress and embarrassment that the publication of the false allegations have caused them and for the continuing damage that has been caused to their reputations.'

 “Such an apology, in front of a High Court judge, is not made for merely ‘political’ reasons as some have erroneously claimed. There was never any doubt that our original case would succeed. 

“That was our view, and the position of the clear, unequivocal legal advice given to us. When the Labour Party offered the apology and retraction that we had sought from the outset, we were proved right.” 

They said that attacks by Mr Corbyn’s leadership after the Panorama was aired that they had set out to harm the party they had worked for “couldn’t have been further from the truth, and we were left with little choice but to seek redress.” 

The whistle-blowers accepted that antisemitism “should never have appeared in a modern progressive political party” and  that it did “should shame all of us who carried a Labour Party membership card.” 

They added: ”We regret that we were unable to completely stem that tide during our time as employees of the Party." 

And addressing more recent attempts by the hard-left to claim antisemitism was given greater attention that other forms of racism, they said “we must all learn to recognise and address antisemitism regardless of faction or friendship. 

“Only when we tackle antisemitism along with all other forms of racism can we then ask people to truly trust the Labour Party as an unambiguously anti-racist movement once again. 

“We hope, through our legal victory, the Jewish community can be confident that there will always be allies who care passionately about restoring that trust.” 

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