A view on the EHRC report in to the Labour Party

15 November 2020

The EHRC report was deeply upsetting and difficult to read. It was professional, factual and just in identifying the failings of the Party’s procedures and culture. We support, in full, its recommendations.

The report reconfirms that antisemitism is a real issue in the Labour Party, primarily manifested through conspiracy theories about Jewish or “Zionist” power and how a number complaints of antisemitism were classed as vexatious. The report went on to expose how the Party’s internal processes failed to recognise and confront antisemitism. The failings highlighted in the report do not belong to any one individual they built up over years and we all must take responsibility.

The EHRC cited that the Labour Party was guilty of unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination. The fact that this is our Party, the Labour Party, is of deep regret and we offer our sincere apology to all Jewish people.

Antisemitism is a form of race hatred. It threatens the democratic, internationalist, and socialist values of our Party, undermining respect for truth, rationality and human dignity.

A renewed resolve to institute political education is essential to confront and uproot antisemitism and we must work with Jewish comrades and communal organisations to develop this effectively at all levels of the Party, equipped with the resources needed. Antisemitism doesn’t operate within a political vacuum, so providing the history and context of left antisemitism is an important part of the training package.

Education alone cannot address failings in the Party’s procedures and its culture. As identified by the EHRC, procedures failed over many years to address discriminatory behaviours, even when concerns were raised, entrenching antisemitism. There must now be an unequivocal shared collective determination to build an accessible, democratic, and participatory culture within the Labour Party, where complaints are independently dealt with without delay.

Our Party’s Rules against antisemitism must be enforced fairly. Accusations of antisemitism must, like all disciplinary matters, be subject to due process, and for that matter, all cases of discrimination. Procedures must be robust, fair, efficient, transparent and independent, free from any political interference or factionalism. New procedures should also be adopted for all cases of abuse, bullying, harassment and discrimination to protect Labour Party members and the public. They must equally be applied to all forms of racism including anti-black racism, antisemitism and islamophobia, sexism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia to name a few, and there must not be a hierarchy to action on discrimination.

Confronting antisemitism is not only necessary in order to make our movement an accessible and hospitable environment for Jewish activists, it is essential in order to make our movement fit to achieve its aim of ensuring that every community is safe, free from all forms of hate and discrimination and that Labour is fit to rebuild every part of our society.

Read the report here: www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/investigation-antisemitism-labour-party