Last week’s BBC Panorama program on anti-Semitism in Labour is splitting the party.
Eight former members of Labour’s Disputes Team, which investigates anti-Semitism in the party, revealed to the BBC that members of leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team interfered in the supposedly independent investigation process. Four of the interviewees breached gagging orders to appear on the program.
The revelations resulted in denials and attacks on the BBC from Corbyn and his supporters and demands for change within the Labour party from deputy leader Tom Watson and other Labour MPs.
The official Labour Party response was: “We completely reject any claim that Labour is anti-Semitic. We stand in solidarity with the Jewish people and we’re taking decisive action to root out anti-Semitism from our movement and society.”
It claimed, “The Panorama program was not a fair and balanced investigation. It was a seriously inaccurate, politically one-sided polemic, which breached basic journalistic standards, invented quotes and edited emails to change their meaning. It was an overtly biased investigation by the BBC in party political controversy.”
According to a party spokesperson, the whistle blowers are “disaffected former officials,” including “those who have always opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, worked to actively undermine it, and have both personal and political axes to grind.”
The spokesperson said, “This throws into doubt their credibility as sources.”
Some of the Panorama interviewees are now taking legal action against the party for libel, and Tom Watson has accused the Labour Party of “smearing” the interviewees. He called the Panorama revelations “truly shocking and distressing.”
Watson demanded that Labour general secretary Jennie Formby, who was accused on the program of having deleted e-mails, give access to all her e-mail accounts to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, which is currently investigating anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
Three Labour Peers Resign
Three Labour peers resigned their party whip last week in protest over anti-Semitism in the party.
Former president of the Royal College of Physicians Lord Turnberg told The Jewish Press, “It was not a sudden decision. I had been thinking about it for about a year or so. I stayed in the Labour Party in the hope that I could do something to turn it round from the inside. But it is pretty obvious that that is not happening at all. Everything is getting worse.
“Every week and every day there is some other event which is pretty nasty about what’s going on in the Labour Party with anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. It was the accumulation of events that made me decide it was no longer tolerable.”
Former Labour general secretary Lord Triesman called his party leadership “anti-Semitic” and said it “never once made the right judgment call about an issue reflecting deep prejudice.”
Lord Darzi told BBC Newsnight, “As an Armenian survivor of the Armenian genocide, I have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism. This decision has not been taken lightly.”
MP Berger Joins Yet Another New Party
Former Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger, who left the party over anti-Semitism to launch Change UK and later left her new party to serve as an independent MP, has now become a founder of a new MPs’ “workers’ collective” called The Independents.
The group are united on the core values of country first, collaboration, integrity, respect, leadership, and openness. Members have the freedom to vote differently on issues.
Kosher Restaurant Loses License, Than Regains It
A Chinese restaurant in London’s Golders Green had its kosher license restored two days after it was withdrawn.
The Federation of Synagogues Beth Din withdrew its license from Met Su Yan because it had “lost confidence” in its willingness to abide by kashrut rules.
Two days later, the beth din announced that, “after implementation of important changes, including significant staff replacements, a kosher license has been issued to Met Su Yan.”
Manchester Deli Is Robbed
Thieves caused more than £10,000 damage to a Manchester deli.
CCTV footage captured the robbers spending two hours at night leisurely reviewing the premises of Boyco in Prestwich. They eventually walked off with quantities of kosher meat, candies, and two computers. They left the freezer door wide open, spoiling all its contents.
Weeks before the incident, new owner Menachem Leitner received the following note from an “angry resident”: “We as local residents do not need a fully kosher shop in this area. I myself isn’t of your faith and don’t want to spend what you charge for products.”
Police are investigating the incident. It’s not clear if the theft and the note are connected.
Six Decades Later, Tennis Champion
Accuses Club of Anti-Semitism
A Jewish Wimbledon tennis champion has alleged that the All England Club, which refused her request for membership 63 years ago, did so out of anti-Semitic animus.
Angela Buxton gained a Wimbledon women’s doubles title in 1956, after which she applied for membership to the club. Buxton, now 84, said about her not being admitted, “It’s an unfortunate example of how the British really treat Jews in this country.”
A club spokesperson responded, “While the decision-making process for membership of the All England Club is a private matter, we strongly refute any suggestion that race or religion plays a part.”
In the 1950s, Buxton was told by London’s Cumberland Club that she could not be a member because she was a Jew.