Labour sets up anti-Semitism website to 'educate' members to 'confront bigotry'

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Labour have set up a website dedicated to anti-Semitism to help “educate” members so they are better able to “confront bigotry”.

Jeremy Corbyn admitted that there was a problem with anti-Jewish racism in a video message. 

In an email sent out to party members introducing the new site headlined: “No Place For Anti-Semitism” he said: “we must face up to the unsettling truth that a small number of Labour members hold antisemitic views and a larger number don’t recognise antisemitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories.”

Labour have been embroiled in a bitter internal row over a BBC Panorama documentary that claimed key aides to Jeremy Corbyn intervened in anti-Semitism cases.

Labour branded the programme misleading and inaccurate, accused former staffers of having “axes to grind”, and demanded the show is taken off iPlayer .

Jeremy Corbyn addressed members in the video

 

But more than 200 current and former members of staff wrote to Mr Corbyn to condemn his office for trying to “smear”, staff who are members of the GMB Union urged the leadership to apologise for attacking whistleblowers and 67 peers took out a national newspaper advert censuring the handling of the crisis.

Tomorrow Mr Corbyn faces a crunch showdown with Shadow Cabinet ministers over the crisis.

And he faces a potential vote of no confidence by Labour after Baroness Hayter, the Shadow Brexit Minister, was sacked for likening his leadership of the party to the “last days of Hitler”.

He tried to seize the initiative today, e-mailing party members and issuing a three-minute YouTube video outlining what he says he is doing to tackle the problem.

  

“Hatred towards Jewish people is rising in many parts of the world. Our party is not immune from that poison – and we must drive it out from our movement,” says Mr Corbyn’s email.

“While other political parties and some of the media exaggerate and distort the scale of the problem in our party, we must face up to the unsettling truth that a small number of Labour members hold anti-Semitic views and a larger number don’t recognise anti-Semitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories.

67 peers took out an advert in a national newspaper over anti-Semitism

He admitted: “The evidence is clear enough.

“The worst cases of anti-Semitism in our party have included Holocaust denial, crude Jewish-banker stereotypes, conspiracy theories blaming Israel for 9/11 or every war on the Rothschild family, and even one member who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood.”

The dedicated website included a “brief history” – running to four paragraphs – of anti-Semitism.

Urging Labour’s estimated 500,000 members to use the website, he said: “Please engage with the materials we are producing, which will be placed on a page on our website, along with other resources, so our movement can be the strongest anti-racist force in our country.

 

“I have learned so much, I hope you will too, so that together we can fight these evils.”

In the film, he says: “I am sorry for the hurt that has been caused to many Jewish people.

“We have been too slow in processing disciplinary cases of mostly online anti-Semitic abuse by party members.

“We are acting to speed this process up.

“People who hold anti-Semitic views have no place in the Labour Party.

“They maybe few – the number of cases over the past three years represents less than 0.1% of Labour’s membership of more than half a million – but one is too many.”

Former head of disputes Sam Matthews, who appears in ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’

 

In a bid to address claims some of the most vocal anti-Semites in Labour’s ranks signed up after he was elected leader in 2015 – and count themselves as his most passionate supporters – he warned them: “People who use anti-Semitic poison need to understand – you do not do it in my name, nor the name of my party.”

It came after a local constituency party voted to expel former chief whip Hilary Armstrong from the party for accusing Mr Corbyn of a lack of leadership over anti-Semitism.

Labour’s main Jewish group has written to every member of the Shadow Cabinet urging them to show “real resolve” to end what it claims is institutional racism against Jews in the party.

The Jewish Labour Movement said party was “sorely in need of real leadership on anti-Semitism”, telling the frontbench: “This is your chance to lead.”

Speaking ahead of the shadow cabinet meeting, prominent backbencher Ruth Smeeth, who is herself Jewish, said: “For three years the issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has been a dark cloud on our movement and frankly the majority of the Shadow Cabinet, with some notable exceptions, have been silent.

“I hope that following the meeting we’ll see genuine change from the leadership.

“The release of the party’s submission to the EHRC, protection for Labour Party whistleblowers who have exposed an appalling bullying and racism within the party and the beginnings of an independent complaints process that we can all trust.

“Anything less is a failure of leadership.”

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