This week Jeremy Corbyn released a video acknowledging that the Labour Party had “a real problem” with anti-Semitism, adding that “anyone who denies that this has surfaced within our Party is clearly actually wrong and contributing to the problem.”
He should tell that to his local CLP in Islington North, who gathered outside Broadcasting House today to protest the “BBC’s biased reporting of Jeremy Corbyn”. Protesters made speeches calling Israel a “racist state” while chanting “shame on you, BBC”. The notorious Labour Against the Witch Hunt group were present alongside Jewish Voice For Labour, which has supported Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth over their anti-Semitic comments in the past.
Labour Against the Witch Hunt were also handing out recruiting leaflets hitting out at “purgists” and claiming that the expulsion and suspension of anti-Semites from the Labour Party was “a clear, determined attack on the left by a powerful section of the Party”:
The LATWH leaflet dismisses many allegations of anti-Semitism as “of a trivial nature” and calls for Labour’s Compliance Unit to be abolished. They also reject the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which they claim is deliberately intended “to conflate anti-zionism with anti-semitism”, instead proposing their own “simple definition” which is limited to opposing “hostility towards Jews as Jews, in which Jews are perceived as something other than what they are”:
One protester was carrying a placard calling for Labour to “reinstate Stan Keable”, who was expelled from the Labour Party for claiming that Zionists had collaborated with the Nazis:
Given Corbyn’s acceptance of his party’s anti-Semitism problem last week, those close to him might have been expected to keep their distance from today’s protest. But in an email sent out through the official Labour email system yesterday evening, Corbyn’s own local branch Secretary called on party activists to join the protest. Islington North Secretary Stephen Moorby told Corbyn’s local branch members to join the protest “to call out the BBC on its persistent failure to report fairly and impartially the attacks on our MP Jeremy Corbyn”:
Corbyn ended his video this week by saying: “It’s my responsibility to root out anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.” Will he start by having a word with his own local branch secretary?