British Labor Party announces new anti-Semitism complaints process and end of ‘dark chapter’ for Jews
(JTA) – Labor members at the UK party’s annual conference passed a rule on how they will handle complaints of anti-Semitism, leading the party leader to say they had “closed the door to the anti-Semitism within the Labor Party “.
“We have turned our backs on the dark chapter. After closing this door, this door will never be open again in our Labor Party to anti-Semitism, ”said Labor leader Keir Starmer. noted.
The change adopted on Sunday in Brighton, England, stipulates that complaints of anti-Semitism will be reviewed by an independent committee. During his years as head of the party, former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of allowing anti-Semitism to fester among some of the party’s left-wing supporters.
Jewish Labor supporters who spoke on Sunday supported the change.
The party is “turning the page on the scourge of anti-Semitism,” said former Jewish Labor lawmaker Ruth Smeeth, who was bombarded with anti-Semitic death threats in 2019.
“You failed,” she told those behind the anti-Semitic abuse. “We are always here.”
During the conference, Starmer – who has sought to rehabilitate Labor’s reputation since his election to replace Corbyn in 2020 – reiterated his apologies to Jews for the proliferation of anti-Semitism within Labor ranks in recent years.
The change in the complaints process, which Starmer pledged to implement in his 2020 victory speech, was recommended by the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, the body for UK government surveillance on racism. The Commission recommended the move in a 2020 report in which it accused Corbyn of being responsible for “unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” against Jews.
Corbyn, a far-left politician who advocated a general boycott of Israel, laid wreaths on monuments for Palestinian terrorists and once called the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends.” In 2014, a year before he was elected leader of the Labor Party, he also declared that Hamas, labeled as a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States, was committed to justice and peace.
Critics of Corbyn said his anti-Israel rhetoric emboldened anti-Semites, and a work ethics board found Corbyn failed to punish violators, the commission found.
The conference also featured a vote that criticized Israel, demonstrating that there still exists antagonism towards the Jewish state within the party.
During a panel on foreign relations, the majority of members present adopted a resolution that “condemns the ongoing Nakba in Palestine, Israel’s militarized violence attacking the Al Aqsa Mosque, the forced displacement of Sheikh Jarrah and the murderous assault on Gaza ”.
“Nakba” means disaster in Arabic and is used to describe the destruction of Arab communities during Israel’s War of Independence. Israel’s planned displacement of residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem led to protests that helped spark the last Israeli-Gazan armed conflict in May.