You can call Corbyn an antisemite but you can't call for him to resign, Charity Commission tells CAA

Its petition said 'Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite and must go' but was changed to 'Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite and the Labour Party must act'


The Campaign Against Antisemitism has had to tone down the wording of a petition against Jeremy Corbyn, after the Charity Commission intervened.

The CAA launched a petition calling the Labour leader "an antisemite", and that "must go" after footage surfaced of the Labour leader saying Zionists "do not understand... English irony".

After complaints, the commission opened a regulatory compliance case August and made the CAA change the wording so it now called to Labour "must act" rather than Mr Corbyn "must go".

The petition, which has received over 47,000 signatures, lists how Mr Corbyn, while a backbench MP, “blamed Islamist terrorist attacks on Israel; defended an appalling antisemitic mural; honoured a sheikh banned from the UK for saying that Jews drink non-Jews’ blood; said that a Hamas terrorist whose life’s work was the murder of Jews was his ‘brother’; held a repulsive event on Holocaust Memorial Day in which Jews were accused of being the successors to the Nazis; tried to have the word ‘Holocaust’ removed from the title of Holocaust Memorial Day; laid a wreath at a memorial for the Black September terrorists behind the Munich Massacre; and now we have heard that he made euphemistic comments to suggest that Jews are somehow un-British and foreign to the ways of our country.”

But the reference to him having to step down is gone. The reference to Mr Corbyn being an antisemite was allowed to remain.

The Charity Commission told the JC its investigation was launched "following concerns raised about a petition launched by the charity which called for the resignation of the leader of the Opposition".

A spokesperson said: “Charities are free to campaign and engage in political activity in furthering their purposes... 

"But there are rules that charities must follow. One of the most important of these rules is that charities must stress their independence from party politics and demonstrate party political balance.

"This is a cornerstone of charity law and the public rightly expect us to uphold it robustly."

The commission so it instructed CAA to change the petition's wording to "to ensure it complied with our guidance on campaigning and political activity".

It said CAA had taken "appropriate steps" to comply with this. "Our engagement with the trustees remains ongoing, so we are unable to provide a further update at this time,” the spokesperson said.

CAA chairman Gideon Falter told the JC the charity worked "tirelessly" to fight Jew-hate but added: "There are many people who oppose our mission and complain to the Charity Commission at every opportunity.

“When we saw that an orchestrated campaign of complaints was being directed to the Commission, we wrote to the Commission and from their responses we understand that no matters are outstanding.

"We are however still in dialogue with the Commission to establish clearer principles on calling for action against antisemitism, and indeed any type discrimination, by political leaders."

He added: “We are dedicated to exposing and countering antisemitism, and in our view it would be hypocritical and counterproductive if we charities had to treat bigoted politicians differently than bigoted corporate executives, public servants or members of professions." 

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