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Labour 'ignored' formal complaint last year into Corbyn support of antisemitic mural

Community leaders call for new independent audit of outstanding Labour antisemitism cases as Luciana Berger is given a standing ovation by party MPs at Westminster meeting

    Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush addresses crowds at Labour antisemtism demo in Parliament Square Credit: PA Images
    Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush addresses crowds at Labour antisemtism demo in Parliament Square Credit: PA Images

     

    The Labour Party ignored a formal complaint about Jeremy Corbyn’s endorsement of an antisemitic mural more than a year ago.

    Sam Shemtob complained in February 2017 after the party ignored his social media comments about Mr Corbyn’s Facebook post, in which he defended a street painting which depicted Jewish bankers playing monopoly on the backs of the poor.

    In his email to the party, which was written under the headline ‘antisemitic complaint’, Mr Shemtob, a music publicist, said Mr Corbyn had given his support to Nazi-style propaganda.

    It is also referred to Labour councillor John Clarke who had shared an antisemitic Tweet by a neo-Nazi referencing Israel and the Rothschilds.

    According to the Guardian, Mr Shemtob’s email said: “Given the similarity between the mural Mr Corbyn endorsed and Mr Clarke’s tweet, which suggested the world is ruled by a Jewish family, I think it’s hard to ignore the link, nor the possibility that Mr Corbyn’s post inadvertently endorses this sort of thinking in his party.”

    Despite saying it took complaints of antisemitism seriously, in March 2017 Labour told Mr Shemtob they could not update him on the issue – and he heard no more from them.

    It is understood that the party did not investigate the complaint because they decided Mr Corbyn’s post did not breach party rules.

    In November 2015 the JC also contacted the Labour Party over Mr Corbyn’s support of the mural – but again there was no response.

    The row over the mural resurfaced again last week after Labour MP Luciana Berger contacted the leader’s office.

    Meanwhile, after yesterday’s Parliament Square demo, in which over 1500 people chanted ‘Enough is enough’ and called for firm action by Mr Corbyn on the antisemitism , there have been calls from community leaders for the Labour Party to carry out an independent audit of all outstanding cases of anti-Jewish conduct.

    Both the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council are believed to be in favour of the move – with high profile cases such as that of Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker yet to be fully resolved.

    Dame Margaret Hodge, a party veteran, has also called on the party to consider a new inquiry into antisemitism following the widely acknowledged failure of the investigation undertaken in 2016 by Shami Chakrabarti.

    At a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday night, Luciana Berger was given a standing ovation by MPs as she said antisemitism in the party was now “more commonplace” and “more corrosive” .

    In her speech to the PLP Ms Berger also attacked  those who “believe that the McPherson principles which came from the Stephen Lawrence enquiry - and say that a racist incident is one that is perceived to be so by the victims or any other person – don’t apply to Jews.”

    In an interview on BBC Newsnight on Monday evening, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald admitted he did not know how many cases of alleged antisemitism the party was dealing with.

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