By David Saffer
The Jewish Labour Movement has accused Jeremy Corbyn of lying on Tuesday night’s ITV-televised leaders’ debate with Boris Johnson.
During the questions section of the hour-long General Election special facilitated by Julie Etchingham, Labour’s under-fire leader claimed “every single case” relating to Jew-hate had been dealt with.
“Anti-Semitism is an absolute evil and scourge within our society,” Corbyn told watching viewers. “Racism in any form is a scourge in our society.
“I have taken action in my party. Where anyone has committed any anti-Semitic acts or made any anti-Semitic statements they are either suspended or expelled from the party and we have investigated every single case.
“We do take this very, very seriously indeed because I do not want to live in a society where racism is rife. I understand and recognise the desperate history of the Jewish people in the 20th century which came about from an un-restriction of anti-Semitism in the 1920s; we’ve got to stand up against racism in any form in our society.”
Johnson failed to pick up Corbyn on his misleading figures in his response to Corbyn’s comments, but slammed Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism as a “complete failure of leadership”.
JLM National Secretary Peter Mason, however, took to Twitter to set the record straight.
“There are at least 130 outstanding anti-Semitism cases, some dating back years, that still haven’t been dealt with,” he noted. “The Party haven’t bothered to investigate the cases properly or make decisions. This is the tip of the iceberg.”
Mason, an Ealing councillor, continued, “Corbyn and Labour’s total failure to deal with anti-Semites has seen it be investigated by the EHRC for institutional anti-Jewish racism. They don’t launch major investigations without cause, and the investigation continues through the election.”
Mason said JLM had submitted a dossier of cases to the EHRC on Tuesday based on sworn testimony from over 70 Labour activists, officers, staff and politicians.
Mason has also provided a witness statement explaining how broken the disciplinary system is and the failure of the Party to properly handle cases.
He added, “The Party will probably now try and remove me for ‘breaking the confidence’ of the NCC. But a candidate for Prime Minister doesn’t get to lie on national television and get away with it.
“So many whistle-blowers have already come forward to call this out for what it is.” Mason continued. “The 130 cases are just those before the NCC. We have submitted details to the EHRC of thousands of cases left unresolved. Cases where grossly anti-Semitic behaviour was excused, and details of the worst political manipulation of a system by those running the Party.
“And all for what? How has this festering anti-Jewish racism, the inaction, the lies and the cover-ups, ever helped the Party in any way? This is a disgraceful episode in the long and proud history of the Labour Party. He should be ashamed of himself.”
Labour candidate for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Neil Coyle, backed Mason on PoliticsHome.
“To claim all cases of anti-Semitism ‘had been investigated’ is simply untrue. It’ll add more evidence to the EHRC inquiry,” he noted.
“The failure to address the problem has cost the party two Jewish MPs, members and supporters already but judging by his comments it still appears a blind spot to Jeremy Corbyn, sadly.”
Coyle added, “It’s not good enough. I know candidates are feeding back some of the difficult discussions we’re having about this problem. He (Corbyn) has failed to tackle anti-Semitism anywhere near adequately enough. An independent process seems the best way forward, allowing us to quickly exclude any racists.”
Labour’s Dawn Butler, Shadow Women & Equalities Secretary, was evasive in defending the Labour leader on Sky News.
“I don’t know where anybody will be getting that information from because it’s confidential,” she said.
“That is within the processes of the Labour Party. What I do know is that the Labour Party has a strong, robust system for dealing with issues of any form of racism and any form of complaints.”
She added, “If Jeremy Corbyn has been informed by the General Secretary that all the cases have been dealt with in some way then absolutely he is right to say that is the case because I’m sure that’s what he’s been informed.”
Commenting on Butler’s defence, Mason noted on Twitter, “The Party in today’s morning media round haven’t contradicted me correcting the record on the failure to tackle anti-Jewish racism, because they know the Leader lied on national television. Instead we seem to be hiding behind confidentiality.”