Shami Chakrabarti’s Report into Labour anti-semitism

June 30, 2016 at 4:26 pm (anti-semitism, Jim D, labour party)

Shami Chakrabati has published her report into anti-semitism within the Labour Party.

She has concluded that the Party is not “overrun” by anti-semitism (or any other forms of racism) but that there is an “occasionally toxic atmosphere”.

She said there was “too much clear evidence… of ignorant attitudes”.

Here’s the Report:

Read it asap, then we’ll have a discussion.


  1. Howard Fuller said,

    And then Corbyn opened his foul mouth and compared Israel to ISIS. The man is a fool not fit for any purpose. I have never been so angry.

    • Aydin Humphries said,

      Please listen to the interview again. He was simply re-iterating what Shami Chakrabati said in her report and she had checked through his speech before it was delivered. Da’esh is not an Islamic State and should never be interpreted as being one. He was referring to Islamic States such as Saudi Arabia and using the terms defined by the report to do so. Shami explains that herself on Today (Radio 4) the morning after the press conference.

  2. Makhno said,

    He didn’t compare Israel to Isis.

    In simple terms, Corbyn was using a very apt analogy. Anti-semites often use negative actions by the Israeli government and/or armed forces to attack all Jews, blaming them and essentially accusing them of guilt by association. Bigots also use the actions of Islamic countries or extra-national terrorist groupings like ISIS in the same way to attack innocent Muslims. This isn’t about a commonality between ISIS and the Israeli state, but a commonality between Jews and Muslims in the face of bigotry. It is a challenge to those on the left who have let their opposition to Israel stray into anti-semitism, as well as a challenge to those who let their opposition to Islamist terrorism stray into anti-Muslim hatred. These are simply the most obvious analogues in modern Britain. At no point does it draw an equivalence between ISIS and Israel.

    It’s incredibly dangerous to use this sort of thing as a political football for internal party factional infighting, especially with the current rise in racist incidents and reactionary bigotry in general.

  3. Political Tourist said,

    Has anybody on here met a paid up Labour Party member saying anything anti Jewish?
    No me neither.

    • Jim Denham said,

      I have: many times.

      Not so much the Labour Party, but more the supposed “far left”, eg people around the Communist Party and Socialist Resistance on Birmingham Trades Council: Bill Goulding (CP), Stuart Richardson (SR) and Godfrey Webster (SR).

      And a friend of mine, who’s a motor industry convenor, told me how at the old T&G BDC when the ritual anti-Israel (“Pro-Palestine”) resolution came up, there was a light-hearted game in which delegates would compete amongst themselves for who could be the most anti-Semitic and get away with it.

      • Makhno said,

        On a personal level, I have never heard anything approaching anti-semitism from Labour Party comrades of my acquaintance and, as Jim suggests, have only experienced it from members of far left groupuscules and the odd non-aligned “anti-imperialist” confusionist who claimed to be on the “left”.

        That said, examples have been found in the wider party, and denialism is of no service to the party or the country as a whole. This is why the Chakrabarti report was much needed.

    • ZINR said,

      The thing is that if you refuse to recognise calls for the abolition of Israel (and hence the final exodus of Jews from the Middle East) as anti-Semitic, or you refuse to recognise comparisons between “Zionists” and Nazis as anti-Semitic, or you refuse to recognise that a zealous focus on the crimes of Israel whilst excusing (and in some cases praising) the crimes of Islamic countries is an anti-Semitic stance, or if you use the word “Zionist” in a derogatory sense (perverting the meaning of the word from one who believes in the Jewish right to a nation state to something akin to “child murdering racist”) then you’re not very likely to believe that there’s any anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Presumably they would have to wear swastikas and say things like “exterminate the Kikes” before you would recognise it as anti-Semitism.

      The Labour Party is currently run by someone who has devoted an inordinate amount of time to praising, promoting and excusing violent anti-Semitic organisations and individuals. If the latest filth to spew from his mouth, comparing Israel to IS, doesn’t convince you of this then, well, nothing is likely to.

      • Makhno said,

        Again, he didn’t compare Israel to ISIS.

        Denialism and this sort of dishonesty are two sides of the same shitty coin. Both attempt to exploit the suffering of Jews for factional political point-scoring.

        In both cases it is desperately tawdry.

    • prianikoff said,

      Political Tourist asks:-

      “Has anybody on here met a paid up Labour Party member saying anything anti Jewish?
      No me neither.”

      Asking a question, then answering it yourself isn’t an argument.

      While the current frenzy around this issue is a politically motivated right-wing witch hunt, I have certainly witnessed an example:-

      About 15 years ago, after a new Labour mayor had been appointed in the town where I used to live, he was invited to speak at a local college. During his speech, he suggested that Jewish students weren’t doing well anymore because they were “on drugs”.

      He was a Hindu Asian, who I imagine was selected as Mayor, purely on the basis of his ethnicity.
      I thought his comment was outrageous, but such a laughable example of puffed-up social aspirations, that I didn’t bother complaining.

      There were quite a large number of both Hindu and Jewish students at the college. Some of the Hindu students said: “don’t elect Asian councillors, they’re all corrupt”.

      Obviously I wouldn’t condone either view.

      • ZINR said,

        “…the current frenzy around this issue is a politically motivated right-wing witch hunt”

        Of course it is. There’s no such thing as anti-Semitism. There’s nothing to investigate. Just right wingers trying to sabotage the Glorious Leader and noble humanitarians like Ken Livingstone, a man brave enough to stand up for Palestinian rights.

        Typical Jews, conspiring against decent noble people like Jeremy…er, I mean “typical Zionists”, sorry.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Stop kidding yourself. It is the lefties and those that have infiltrated Labour that think Jews run the planet as Hitler did. Nat si bhoy.

  4. Abtalyon said,

    “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those various self-styled Islamic states or organisations.”

    And by inference, Jews who support Israel or its government are to be lumped together with those Muslims that support “self-styled Islamic states” and therefore ostracised, insulted and declared persona-non-grata. Is that not the lesson Corbyn wishes to pass on to his faithful?

    • ZINR said,

      It is an unbelievably offensive and disgusting thing to say. Why on earth is this piece of shit leader of the Labour Party? It’s a nightmare.

      Labour has abandoned Jews. Jews in turn will abandon Labour. Corbyn and his festering shit-heap of fellow travellers will shrug and count the Islamist votes.

      • Makhno said,

        “It is an unbelievably offensive and disgusting thing to say.”

        It isn’t. You want it to be, but it simply isn’t. Your position just doesn’t stand up to logic and is dishonest hyperbole.

    • Makhno said,

      “Is that not the lesson Corbyn wishes to pass on to his faithful?”

      No, that is clearly not the lesson.

      • Abtalyon said,

        Are you sure? Mr Corbyn was later seen in friendly conversation with the very person who bullied Ms Smeeth MP. Seems to me that he was being awarded the Corbyn seal of approval.

      • Makhno said,

        I’m sorry, you appear to be arguing about something else now. Your original point was with regard to what Corbyn said in his speech.

        I wasn’t at the event, so can’t comment on what was said to Ruth Smeeth, or whether it constituted bullying. I’m very sorry she was upset, but that doesn’t automatically put her in the right. I also can’t comment on the aftermath (again, as I wasn’t there) and would take with a pinch of salt anything filtered through the media from either side.

        Perhaps if you could tell me what exactly was said to Ruth Smeeth that would help matters.

    • seditionsquare said,

      Given that Abtalyon felt the need to go beyond the text to ‘infer’ a comparison, I’d say no – that obviously isn’t the lesson.

  5. seditionsquare said,

    I thought it was a refreshingly level-headed report, and interesting to read. Thanks to Jim for sharing it.

  6. Rilke said,

    Labour’s Shadow Chancellor has just stated that his own Brexit budget response includes getting rid of free movement of labour and people and therefore involves ‘options’ on restricting it. At a time when the right are stoking anti EU immigration fears and sentiment ths is nothing much more than national social populism. I have never voted any other way than Labour my whole life, but this does it. No more. Now we know why these little Englander national guild socialists covertly supported Leave. Maybe people coming in from outside the UK will have to join a union as part of the points system? Disgraceful and utterly shameful. They make me sick.

    • Makhno said,

      I don’t think it’s fair to say that McDonnell’s budget response includes getting rid of freedom of movement He’s actually stated that this is the formal reality as it stands if we leave the EU, not the Labour party’s position. Up until now it’s been representatives of the Labour right that have been talking about “addressing people’s real concerns about immigration” and “a progressive argument about freedom of movement”. There is also previous on this from the party at the last election:

      That said, if you’re right and the leadership (any leadership) go down this route, I would certainly have to reconsider my position as a member of the party.

      • Makhno said,

        “A progressive argument AGAINST freedom of movement”, that should have read.

  7. Rilke said,

    As far as this debate goes, I can tell you that I have heard plenty, both from Labour councillors and Trade Unionists. However, it was nearly always block-headed ignorance and moronic phrasing using ‘Israel’ and ‘Israeli’ when meaning Zionist fanatic, or IDF, or Zionist militant. So I have heard “…what the fuck are these Israelis playing at?” and so on. In the same way an ignoramus would say “… and these fuckin’ Americans always …..’ fill in the blanks., and so forth, when they actually intend hard Republicans or Pentagon backed militarism or some such. After pointing out the danger of such crudity and Lumpenism, there was usually an apology followed by a slightly more adapted phrase. Do these phrases imply anti-Semitism? Probably something operating slightly lower down that could become outright anti Semitism if it was not combated. Although I am beginning to change my mind and see it as sly anti Semitism, as these morons seem to be higher up now and will not accept any advice or admonition. I see it as a strand of ignorance fed on self-righteousness and indulged and paraded as ‘left’ insights and it is not uncommon to hear such simplicities. Any one who says otherwise is lying.

  8. ZINR said,

    Why is “Islamophobia” mentioned in this report so many times? Why the excessive mention of other forms of racism? This was meant to be an investigation into anti-Semitism. Even the recommendations at the end aren’t exclusively to do with anti-Semitism (unless someone in the Labour Party has started referring to Jews as “Pakis”).

    It’s pointless anyway. A party that elected notorious anti-Semite Jeremy Corbyn as leader in the first place clearly doesn’t give a red fuck about anti-Semitism.

    Well, they’ve lost my vote forever, though I doubt very much that any of them give a flying fuck about that. There are always angry Islamists, clueless students or Maoist relics waiting to make up the numbers.

    Congratulations Labour. You have legitimised anti-Semitism in mainstream British politics.

    • Jim Denham said,

      The report is better than I expected, and does indeed recognise that anti-Semitism exists in the Party, mainly in the form of “ignorant attitudes.”

      I would not agree that Corbyn is a “notorious anti-Semite”, but he has received his political education in a milieu in which absolute anti-Zionism was deemed not ony acceptable, but often the norm.This can easily shade over into political anti-Semitism. But Corbyn seems to be learning, eg: his expression of regret, yesterday, for having called Hamas and Hizbollah “friends” and also for his choice of words that sounded as though he was comparing Israel with ISIS.

      I was also reassured to read that he described Livingstone’s claims about Hitler supporting Zionism, “wholly unacceptable and wrong.”

      I think there are real signs that those of us who take anti-Semitism seriously are slowly but surely winning the argument on the left of the Labour Party and within Momentum.

      I would agree, however, that it is unfortunate and sounds evasive when Corbyn and people around Corbyn seem incapable is simply condemning anti-Semitism, without simultaneously bringing “Islamophobia” and/or “all (other) forms of racism” into it.

  9. Paul Canning (@pauloCanning) said,

    This is pretty masterful on the report’s flaws, eg:

    “3. The report commends the leadership for commissioning the inquiry. The inquiry was in fact announced as a consequence of extreme political pressure after numerous allegations had been made about antisemitism in the party and the leadership had become subject to ridicule for not taking the issue seriously, particularly following the incendiary comments by the leader’s long term political associate Ken Livingstone. None of this context is referenced. One comes back to the point that the former director of Liberty would never be so charitable if asked to do a similar exercise say in relation to a police force.”

    • ZINR said,

      “The leader’s failure to explain, account or if appropriate apologise for his associations with Paul Eisen (Holocaust denier), the Larouche cult, Stephen Sizer (9/11 conspiricist), Raed Salah (blood libeler), Hamas, Hezbollah and Press TV and more recently the leader’s dismissive attitude to complaints by his own MP Louise Ellman and peer Lord Levy are at the core of the problem”

      Put, say, Nick Griffin in place of “the leader” and I can’t really imagine anyone in the Labour Party, or on this site, claiming he has made “some unwise associations” but “of course he isn’t an anti-Semite himself though he needs to distance himself a bit from those who are.”

      Why all the excuses for Corbyn? Would anyone else on earth be able to dismiss all of the above associations and get a free pass from left wingers? It beggars belief.

  10. John Rogan said,

    Btw, the Labour Representation Committee (Chair John McDonnell) have dropped charges of anti Semitism against Gerry Downing.

    If the LRC have decided that Mr Downing should be allowed to remain a member, then why should he not be allowed back into the Labour Party? After all, Jeremy Corbyn is also a long standing member (indeed one of the founders) of the LRC and is, presently, still Labour leader.

  11. Rilke said,

    With all due respect, I do. not recognise or accept Momentum in any way. Who are they? How do they get their ‘positions’? When I sign over my union subscription to the Labour Party it is says fuck all about a group called ‘Momentum’. WhenI vote I have never seen a name with ‘Momentum’ next to it. Today one their ‘leaders’ was on Daily Politics telling everyone what Labour ‘must do’. Is he a delegate? I was a NUM delegate and elected, I did not just turn up at conference as some self-appointed mouthpiece, I had my members votes behind me. If it is simply the strength of their political acumen and intellectual standing than promotes them, then maybe they can be accepted as a kind of organic intellectual group of the left or some such. But from what I’ve seen and heard they are mostly intellectual primitives.
    I have started a group called ‘Adornus’; can I have some union funds and a seat on the national committee please? If you say ‘no’, you must be Tory, Blairite, McCarthyite, racist, class traitor – so cough up!

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