Much comment on the leaked 850-page Labour Party report leaked on 12 April has focused on its extensive and vivid documentation of the already-known fact that from 2015 the hold-overs from the Blair-Brown era in the Labour Party machine were viciously and unscrupulously hostile to - indeed out to sabotage - the Labour Party's new elected leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and to more or less anyone "left" or Corbyn-supporting. But the report is entitled “The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014-2019”, and that, too, deserves analysis.
At the moment, it should be stressed, the status of the contents and findings of the report is only that of allegations (albeit ones backed up by copious amounts of prima facie evidence). In the following article all names of alleged perpetrators have therefore been anonymised.
Until around the spring of 2018 the Labour Party systematically failed to deal properly with complaints of antisemitic conduct by Party members. In many cases it failed to deal with such complaints at all.
Although other elements of the document have gained more publicity, that is the core finding of the recently leaked 850-page report “The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014-2019”.
In the period 2015/16 the Governance and Legal Unit (GLU) was characterised by “an almost complete lack of systems, processes, guidance and training for staff members. There was no system for logging all complaints, and the GLU did not apply the Macpherson principles of recording all complaints of racism as racism.”
Personal ties and political affiliations also influenced how disciplinary proceedings were dealt with.
Proposals to suspend Rod Little for a manifestly racist and Islamophobic “Spectator” article were put on hold for reasons explained by A: “Apparently Rod Little is chummy with Ian Austin and by extension TW (Tom Watson). I still want to do this but we’re not under pressure to do it – so maybe just sit on it for now.”
B e-mailed back: “Okay, I will speak to Ian (Austin).”
A complaint alleging Islamophobic conduct by Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick was not processed on the basis that the complainant was not a Party member. But this was not a requirement under the Party Rulebook. And, rightly, it was not a criterion applied to later complaints of antisemitism.
Subsequent complaints about Fitzpatrick were made by Party members. But no case was created, no investigation was launched, and no action taken. Instead, they received a letter stating:
“The Party takes any allegation of prejudice or abuse with the utmost seriousness, and this matter has already been raised by others with Jim Fitzpatrick directly. Mr Fitzpatrick has a long and proud career serving his constituents of all faiths and backgrounds, and is a widely respected member of the Parliamentary Labour Party.”
When complaints were lodged about Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Emily Benn retweeting material by the Women’s Equality Party (WEP), the GLU saw its role as one of protecting her.
B wrote: “We are going to have to get some specifics on the Emily Benn tweet and quick. We need to put to bed this in relation to not suspending her.”
In a later e-mail B wrote: “We will simply have to hold this line when asked why we haven't suspended her. We need some examples of other, high profile people, who have retweeted something controversial which we haven't taken action against.”
The GLU worked to give Benn a clean bill of health for retweeting WEP posts at virtually the same time that it was suspending thousands of Corbyn supporters for ‘misdemeanours’ such as having ‘liked’ or retweeted a Green Party post about a particular policy – even prior to their membership of the Labour Party.
The GLU’s defence of Benn also impacted on its response to early complaints of blatantly racist, Islamophobic and antisemitic material being retweeted or re-posted on Facebook by Party members.
What should have been straightforward suddenly became “tricky”. As B wrote in relation to a complaint which had provided copious evidence of a Party member circulating such material on social media:
“It is a tricky one. We are under some pressure nationally around ‘suspensions’ for simple Facebook likes and we have argued against suspending someone (Emily Benn) for sharing a Facebook article about Women’s Equality Party. That is, sharing doesn’t mean endorsement – it means debate.”
The failings of the GLU in this period were compounded by an ongoing lack of guidance on how to deal with complaints of antisemitism. This, says the report, “resulted in a number of individuals being ‘let off’ who should not have been.”
Thus, one complaint related to a member whose social media output included:
“If you say anything against them [Israelis] they cry anti-semitism and harp back to the holocaust to curry sympathy. Well, the holocaust is exactly what they are performing on the rightful inhabitants of Palestine with the financial support of the US and UK.
The problems caused by ‘terrorism’ presently are 100% caused by the Zionist leaders of Israel (an illegal state) and their billionaire masters, the Rothschilds.”
But C’s finding was “I don’t think there is enough to suspend the member here – although we should send a stern warning about his use of language.”
Insofar as any system existed for tracking complaints in this period, it consisted of an Excel spreadsheet. But not all complaints were logged on it, and it was updated only infrequently. Then, in June 2016, the GLU lost the spreadsheet:
“I can’t seem to locate it in the disciplinary folder or in the disputes folder, and I can’t think where else it could be. … I think D has assumed that E has the latter list saved somewhere on our drive, but I cannot locate it.”
In the period late 2016 to early 2018 the GLU continued to demonstrate the same or similar failings – and even worse ones:
“[The GLU] did not develop or maintain any functioning system for consistently or comprehensively logging, acting on or monitoring the progress of complaints. Complaints were frequently lost, including cases involving extreme levels of antisemitism such as Holocaust denial. The vast majority of complaints of all categories simply were not acted on.
There were at least 170 cases of antisemitism by Labour members reported in this period that warranted investigation but were not acted on, and the total figure is likely to be higher. … GLU staff acted on, at most, 16% of the complaints made about Labour members engaging in antisemitism in this period.”
One simple reason why so few cases were acted on was that GLU staff failed to check the e-mail inbox to which complaints were sent:
“For more than two and a half months, to 13 February 2017, the inbox appears to have been unmanaged. … Work on the inbox was never comprehensive - many complaints forwarded to the inbox appear to simply never have been addressed.
From 22 September to 17 October 2017 no emails were sent [from the inbox, to be actioned]. … From this point on (6th November), the inbox appears to have been left completely unmanaged - for four and a half months.”
Examples of complaints not acted on which are cited in the report include ones relating to Party members whose social media output included references to:
“Zionist scum”, Zionist cancer”, “Zionist puppets”, “Zionist control” of America, “Zionist Hollywood media programming”, Holocaust denial, Nazism as an invention of the Rothschilds, Soros and Hilary Clinton being “”Rothschild puppets”, and “Tel Aviv control” of the mainstream media.
In some cases the complainants even provided the Party membership number of the objects of their complaints. There could therefore be no dispute that such output came from Party members.
Even when cases were picked up from the fitful managing of the e-mail inbox, they were not necessarily acted on. Again, the report provides page after page of specific examples of complaints of egregious antisemitism being forwarded to C but with no further action being taken:
“Between 13 February 2017 and 3 November 2017 at least 27 complaints of antisemitism [were forwarded] to C with proposals for action, with the relevant Labour members’ membership numbers attached, [they] did not receive any response or action at all from C.”
A separate section of the report deals with how complaints submitted by “Labour Against Anti-Semitism” were (not) dealt with by the GLU.
LAAS claimed to have provided 6,000 examples of antisemitism by 700 Party members. Although these figures were exaggerated and misleading (LAAS would make multiple complaints about the same individual), their complaints did include examples of grossly antisemitic posts by identified or easily identifiable Party members.
But “the majority of LAAS complaints were not investigated at all, even though many were cases involving extreme and explicit antisemitism.” Where action was taken, it involved “simply investigations without suspension, although they included extreme cases of Holocaust denial and explicit hatred of Jewish people.”
A mere 26 Notifications of Investigation were issued in response to the LAAS complaints. But, says the report (backed up by quotes from the offending material):
“At least 22 should definitely have merited immediate suspension in expectation of later expulsion from the party.
These were some of the most horrendous, gross and explicit cases of antisemitism that the party has seen throughout the past five years, with comments and posts including overt hatred of and hostility towards Jews, repeated and explicit Holocaust denial, and claims that “Goyim” were ‘in danger’ from Jews.”
In some cases the GLU also wrote to LAAS wrongly claiming that the individuals of whom they complained were not Party members. These ‘non-members’ included a member whose name produced a single match on the membership database – and a member of the Party’s National Executive Committee.
The growing publicity being given by the media to the LAAS allegations led to the GLU being asked to provide statistics to LOTO (Leader of the Opposition’s Office) about progress in processing the LAAS complaints. But, finds the report:
“C misinformed A and B, and they in turn Iain McNicol (Party General Secretary) and LOTO (Murphy, Murray, Milne and Jeremy Corbyn himself), about the action GLU had taken.
LOTO was informed that: all LAAS complaints had now been dealt with, more than 300 of them; the vast majority of their complaints were not about members of the party; only 22%, 73, were complaints the party could actually ‘do something with’; all those 73 cases were now receiving an NOI or suspension as appropriate; all complaints of antisemitism were being dealt with promptly and appropriately.
None of this information was accurate.”
The report continues:
“The Party believes that C may have invented the numbers he reported. … [Also,] C gave the false impression that the issue with LAAS pertained to some complaints submitted recently, in the preceding few months. As we have seen, however, LAAS and other complaints had been mostly ignored throughout the preceding sixteen months.”
The failure to suspend Party members (with a view to possible eventual expulsion) where there was prima facie evidence of antisemitic conduct was not confined to the LAAS complaints.
Much of the report’s coverage of this period provides copious examples of grossly antisemitic posts on social media by Party members which resulted in no more than an investigation, if even that, by the GLU (insofar as any cases were actually processed).
One example is that of a complaint lodged in early 2017 about a member who had posted a video (“Jewish Rabbi Tells the Truth about Hitler”) according to which Jews were behind the Russian Revolution, Rockefeller had gloated in 1967 about 9/11, and Jews imitated the Nazis.
C decided that all this merited was what he himself termed “a very sternly worded reminder of conduct.”
A second, and better known, example is the case of Alan Bull. From July 2017 onwards complaints were submitted about Bull’s Holocaust denial (“a hoax”), Rothschild conspiracy theories and defence of Hitler.
C’s initial response was to issue Bull with a Notification of Investigation (NOI), later changed to a proposal that he be given a warning and mandatory training. But the saga dragged on into March 2018, only two months before Bull was due to stand as a Labour council candidate:
“Bull had been sent three NOIs resulting from five separate complaints over nine months - three times C had determined not to suspend him, despite sharing Holocaust denial, his alleged in-person antisemitic conduct, and the fact that he was a council candidate in upcoming elections.”
Bull was finally suspended in March 2018, even though that would have been the appropriate course of action as early as July of the previous year. The failure to suspend Bull earlier was the expression of the GLU’s fundamentally flawed approach to using (or not using) its powers to suspend:
“From January 2017 to March 2018, the Disputes Team [part of the GLU] misapplied NEC guidelines, with junior staff being instructed to only consider suspensions in cases of in-person conduct or where there were safeguarding concerns.
Contrary to both the Chakrabarti Report and the guidelines agreed by the NEC, no consideration was given to the extremity of the conduct highlighted or to the reputational risk it posed to the Labour Party.
A council candidate who shared Holocaust denial materials was thus given an NOI only, as were members who supported Adolf Hitler and said ‘I despise Jews I think they are vermin and the scum of the earth’.”
In fact, throughout this period the GLU sought to avoid taking formal disciplinary action:
“Its preference was for the vast majority of cases to be resolved informally, with, for example, apologies and/or staff-imposed warnings. If a case was not deemed serious enough for expulsion, the GLU preferred it be dealt with in this manner.”
The GLU’s inaction in response to complaints of antisemitism in this period, the report notes, could not be attributed to a shortage of staff. In late 2016 the GLU’s staffing complement had been increased. But the report does raise questions about the selection process for new appointments.
F was appointed as Disputes Administrator. F’s background was in Labour Students, “Britain Stronger in Europe” and the Party’s Validation Team (used to disenfranchise Corbyn supporters in 2015 and 2016).
She was appointed in preference to candidates who worked for law firms, the police and other organisations in roles including administration of complaints. But as A wrote in advance of the interviews: “There is one applicant who C would be more than happy to recruit for Disputes administrator.”
In its coverage of the same period (late 2016 to early 2018) the report also turns its attention, at some length, to the role of LOTO in (potential) disciplinary proceedings against Party members for reason of complaints of antisemitism.
Prior to Corbyn’s election as leader it was standard practice for LOTO to be involved in disciplinary matters and express a view about appropriate penalties:
“Staff in GSO [General Secretary’s Office] and GLU, including Emilie B and Mike Creighton, routinely sought LOTO sign-off on decisions on disciplinary cases involving elected representatives or high profile members of the Party, and changed the course of action if LOTO’s views were different from their own.”
This practice stopped after Corbyn’s election as Party leader. But in March of 2018 Mathews e-mailed staff in LOTO suggesting a new approach to dealing with complaints of antisemitism:
“I think it is worth me raising each case with you before we take further action on it, … letting you know what we think the most appropriate and proportionate next step would be with each matter in turn. Unless stated otherwise, we’ll wait for your input before taking any further action.”
B was copied in on C’s e-mail and responded: “Very good”.
24 cases were subsequently sent to Laura Murray and Andrew Murray. In 21 out of the 24 cases the two Murrays agreed with the GLU’s proposed approach. E-mail exchanges quoted in the report also indicate that the Murrays saw their role as merely expressing an opinion rather than having a veto over GLU decisions.
C welcomed the input from LOTO staff which he had initiated.
In April he e-mailed Laura Murray that “dealing with difficult decisions on administrative suspensions has been helped by a formal structure for raising these cases with LOTO” and recommended that “the Party continues to use this process for such decisions.”
Other LOTO staff who had been copied in on C’s e-mails and who had a different remit from the Murrays could not understand why they were being copied in and asked for the practice to cease, especially when it seemed that the Party was “through the heavy influx of cases”.
Overall, on this point, the report concludes:
“Claims that GLU were not able to take action on antisemitism cases because of pressure from LOTO or the NEC are simply not credible, and are directly contradicted and disproved by a vast array of documentary evidence.
[The decision by GLU staff to involve LOTO] was later used by the same staff to accuse LOTO of involvement in antisemitism cases or of letting off antisemites, blaming LOTO and Jeremy Corbyn for GLU’s inaction on antisemitism complaints.
It may have been GLU and GSO’s intention to make this accusation when they initiated this process of consulting LOTO.”
The closing section of the report deals with the changes made in dealing with complaints of antisemitism following the appointment of Jennie Formby as the Party’s General Secretary.
Guidance was finally produced for GLU staff on how to assess and deal with complaints of antisemitism. New staff with expertise in challenging (left) antisemitism were recruited. Training in recognising contemporary antisemitism was provided for all GLU staff.
New systems and training were put in place to facilitate identifying whether someone accused of antisemitism was a Party member, and to ensure that no complaint could get ‘lost’
Pro-active and systematic social media searches were conducted to ensure that all evidence came to light when a complaint was lodged. Facebook was contacted by the Labour Party to try to get (purportedly) pro-Labour Facebook pages carrying antisemitic content taken down.
In 2018, the GLU reviewed 551 complaints and agreed action for 428 of them, including 98 suspensions and 195 NOIs. By comparison, in 2017 the GLU had issued ten suspensions and 24 NOIs. At times, more suspensions and NOIs were signed off in a day than in all of 2017.
Expulsions for antisemitic conduct increased to 45 in 2019, compared with zero in 2016, one in 2017, and ten in 2018. (Given that the focus of the report is the work of the GLU, there is an emphasis on disciplinary action rather than on other ways to combat antisemitic ideas.)
New educational materials and a ‘mini-website’ were created to provide education for the Party membership about antisemitism and its contemporary forms. Additional education materials were also drafted but production was put on hold because of the 2019 general election.
Thus, concludes the report:
“The evidence demonstrates that, particularly from spring 2018 onwards, the Party has introduced appropriate processes, systems, training, education and effective line management to ensure antisemitism complaints are dealt with swiftly and robustly.
These safeguards ensure that the past mistakes in the handling of antisemitism complaints cannot be repeated now.”
The opening sections of the report (see below) have been given far wider publicity than the sections covered above. Given their contents, this is perhaps understandable. But such one-sided coverage detracts from core issues in the report and conclusions which need to be drawn from it.
First and foremost, for a long period of time the Labour Party failed to investigate properly, if at all, complaints of antisemitism by Party members. Party members, and Jewish activists and organisations, who accused the Labour Party of failing to do so have therefore been vindicated.
The report recognises that at the outset: “The Party must … apologise for failing to take the necessary action to tackle the problem sooner. … This report reveals a litany of mistakes, deficiencies, and missed opportunities to reform, develop and adapt a clearly failing disciplinary system.”
The report pins the blame for this on staff in the GLU and their line managers, up to and including G. It exculpates LOTO from blame. But wherever the blame lies, the Labour Party itself has to take responsibility for the gross failings which the report identifies.
Nor is it any compensation to learn, as the report states at one point, that the GLU failed to deal with all complaints properly, not just those relating to antisemitism. (To avoid findings of vicarious liability for race discrimination, the report has to argue that the GLU failed on all fronts.)
But where does that leave those who argued that allegations of antisemitism were simply a plot by the right wing (plus, in the more extreme forms of the argument, Mossad, MI5, etc.) to undermine Corbyn’s leadership?
The report gives them short shrift: “This report thoroughly disproves any suggestion that antisemitism is not a problem in the Party, or that it is all a ‘smear’ or a ‘witch-hunt’. The report’s findings … could help end the denialism amongst parts of the Party membership which has further hurt Jewish members and the Jewish community.”
The cheerleaders for Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Moshe Machover, Asa Winstanley and Chris Williamson and Tony Greenstein certainly cannot take any solace from the report.
The only criticism which the report makes of Walker’s expulsion is that it took so long to reach that point. Formby is quoted in the report: “I was told by C [about] the deliberate decision (by the GLU) to delay it by over a year – a delay for which Jeremy has of course had to bear the blame.”
The GLU’s handling of complaints against Ken Livingstone is not criticised in the report as a witch-hunt but because of a lack of action by the GLU: G falsely informed LOTO that Livingstone was under investigation when he was not.
The report supports the decision to overturn Moshe Machover’s auto-exclusion, taken on the basis of his having written for “Weekly Worker”. But it also criticises the GLU for failing to take action about the contents of his articles, in which he had endorsed Livingstone’s claims about supposed Zionist-Nazi ideological affinities.
Winstanley is classed by the report as a straightforward case of antisemitism: accusing Jews in the Jewish Labour Movement of dual loyalty, accusing Jon Lansman of the same (and worse), and endorsing Livingstone’s comments about supposed Nazi-Zionist collaboration.
Chris Williamson, being a sitting Labour MP at the relevant time, is dealt with at greater length in the report. But the case against him is likewise classed as a straightforward case of multiple forms of antisemitism-related misconduct, including denialism of the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party.
As for Tony Greenstein, he is now no more than a search term used by GLU staff to assess whether Party members have posted antisemitic material on social media:
“The 20 search terms used range from extreme antisemitism on the one end, to different forms of ‘denialism’ on the other. For example, they include ‘Greenstein’, to flag shares of offensive blog posts by Tony Greenstein, and ‘witchhunt’, as well as broad terms like ‘antisemitism’ and ‘Jew’.”
And when the report dismissively refers to “people who spend their waking night and day aggressively campaigning on this [denying accusations of antisemitism]”, it may as well have named Jewish Voice for Labour and Labour Against the Witch-Hunt by name.
Even where such denialism is not overtly antisemitic, the report rightly points out that it nonetheless “jeopardises the party’s fight against antisemitism, and makes Labour spaces unwelcoming and exclusionary to many Jewish people.”
But however valuable the report may be in confirming the Party’s (past) failures to address complaints of antisemitism, it is not above criticism.
Concerned with the nuts and bolts of how complaints were (not) dealt with, the report justifiably refrains from broader political discussion: “It does not directly address the wider politics of antisemitism or a number of the controversies which have convulsed the Party … but such matters are inevitably touched upon at points.”
Thus, right at the outset the report states: “In 2016 the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party could be attributed to a small number of individuals who had long held antisemitic views, as well as individuals who had inadvertently strayed into antisemitic discourse.”
This is the “few bad apples” theory of antisemitism: Antisemitism in the Labour Party is a matter of a few members in a mass political party, rather than something rooted in more widespread conceptualisations (especially among sections of the left) of Israel and Zionism which incorporate antisemitic tropes.
Inconsistently, having opened with the “few bad apples” theory, 570 pages later the report praises Corbyn for rejecting the same “few bad apples” theory: “The issue of antisemitism in the Party has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples.”
While the report legitimately defends Corbyn (and Chakrabarti) against unfair and inaccurate criticism, it sometimes appears to go too far in the opposite direction, virtually presenting them as the ‘deus ex machina’ who could rid the Party of antisemitism (were it not for the failings of the GLU):
“Chakrabarti and Jeremy Corbyn provided in-depth, nuanced and detailed guidance on a range of contemporary forms of antisemitism, focused on those forms that can manifest on the left.
Jeremy Corbyn and Shami Chakrabarti in this period gave detailed guidance to Labour members on how antisemitism can manifest on the left, and the types of conduct that the Party considered unacceptable. … Despite this, no internal GLU guidance on how to approach cases concerning antisemitism appears to have then been produced or procured.”
Such a claim is particularly problematic in the light of various aspects of Corbyn’s own record on antisemitism – his defence of the Mear One mural, his description of members of Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”, his comments about Zionists not understanding English irony, conspiracy-theory statements on Iranian Press TV, etc.
That record poses a question mark against the report’s portrayal of Corbyn as a source of “in-depth, nuanced and detailed guidance on a range of contemporary forms of antisemitism.”
The report’s portrayal of Milne, Murphy and Andrew Murray helpfully and selflessly coming to the aid of the GLU in its hour of need also sits uneasily alongside their record as Stalinist apparatchiks with no known record of challenging or even understanding left antisemitism.
Some episodes of the Party’s antisemitism travails are also dealt with either surprisingly briefly (e.g. Christine Shawcroft’s resignation as chair of the NEC Disputes Panel in relation to the Alan Bull affair) or not at all (e.g. the suspension of Pete Wilsman) by the report.
Such shortcomings do not mean that the report is fundamentally flawed. But they do lead into the broader question of the ‘narrative’ which underpins the report. This, in turn, leads into the contents of the opening sections of the report.
Cited in detail in other coverage of the report – not infrequently to the complete exclusion of what the report has to say about the Party’s processing of complaints of antisemitism – the opening sections focus on the conduct of a number of senior Party employees:
- Creating a secret “key seats team” which funnelled election campaign funding into the seats of right-wing MPs, including ones in safe constituencies, in the 2017 election.
- Copying Tom Watson in on e-mails so that he could leak them to the media, and “throwing cash” at his seat to ensure his re-election in 2017.
- Manipulating election rules in Labour Students to prevent the introduction of One Member One Vote in order to preserve right-wing control of the organisation.
- Attempting to manipulate selection procedures to prevent left-wingers being selected as PPCs, ordering re-runs of CLP AGMs where left-wingers had won control of the CLP, and maintaining CLP suspensions to prevent right-wing MPs from being deselected.
- Conducting widescale purges on spurious grounds to exclude Corbyn supporters from voting in leadership contests.
- Applying different criteria to complaints depending on whether they were about right-wingers or left-wingers.
- Hoping that Labour would lose the Gorton by-election and that Labour would lose court proceedings which challenged Corbyn’s right to be on the ballot paper in the 2016 leadership contest.
- Drawing up a succession plan in early 2017 under which Watson would take over from Corbyn, and making plans for leadership elections to be conducted under the previous electoral college system to ensure that a left-winger would not win.
- Discussing how to cancel the 2015 leadership contest when it became clear that Corbyn was going to win, even though it meant that Unite the Union would probably disaffiliate, which would be “brilliant for Labour”.
- Opposing agreed Labour Party policies on rail re-nationalisation, increasing corporation tax, and opposing the Tories’ dementia tax.
- Recruitment of full-timers by other full-timers to Labour First in 2015, and campaigning by full-timers for the anti-Corbyn Saving Labour in 2016.
- Assuming that Labour would lose the 2017 general election and putting little or no effort into helping Labour win it.
- Routinely using derogatory mental health terms to abuse Party members, voters and employees.
- Routinely criticising women employees on the basis of their physical appearance and dress, and using misogynistic terms of abuse.
- Routinely employing violent language in criticising Corbyn, Party employees and Corbyn’s supporters.
In this way the opening section of the report ‘sets the scene’ and create a contextual ‘narrative’ for the rest of the report:
“Many staff, including GLU staff and senior staff with responsibility for managing and overseeing GLU, were bitterly opposed to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, and seem to have been demotivated, or largely interested in work that could advance a factional agenda.
The factional activity of GLU and GSO appears to have come at the expense of the work required to improve Labour’s disciplinary procedures, and to make them fit for purpose.”
This may well be true. But it also opens the door to a new form of denialism.
The denialism of ‘Claims of antisemitism were fictitious and just a right-wing plot to undermine Corbyn’ can now morph into the denialism of ‘Claims of antisemitism were real, and the failure to act was just a right-wing plot to undermine Corbyn.’
Even worse is coverage of the report which disregards what it says about the Party’s failure to respond to complaints of antisemitism. An article in last Tuesday’s “Morning Star”, for example, totally ignored that section of the report (a mere 700 pages) and focussed only on the report’s opening sections.
To be sure, the right wing must be called to account for its scandalous conduct which the report exposes. But not at the expense of ignoring, downplaying or misrepresenting the report’s finding on the Party’s failure to process and act on complaints of antisemitism.