Jeremy Corbyn is unfit for high office, according to the Chief Rabbi, who said anti-Semitism in the Labour party has been ‘sanctioned from the top’. Ephraim Mirvis claims that ‘a new poison’ has taken hold in Labour, urging voters to think carefully about who they back at the general election. Labour responded by saying ‘Jeremy Corbyn is a lifelong campaigner against anti-Semitism’.
So does Labour have an anti-Semitism problem? To help readers make their own minds up, here is a list detailing alleged incidents on the matter:
1. Corbyn came to the defence of Sheikh Raed Salah, who revived the medieval anti-Semitic ‘blood libel’ slur that Jews cook with children’s blood. Salah was arrested by British police in 2011 when he was due to speak at an event in the House of Commons – alongside Corbyn. In 2012 Corbyn called Salah ‘a very honoured citizen’.
2. Labour Students at Oxford University Labour Club mocked the Jewish victims of the Paris kosher supermarket attack, called Auschwitz a ‘cash cow’, and used the Neo-Nazi slur ‘Zio’, according to extensive testimony from Jewish students. After months of obfuscation, including an NEC decision to not publish a party report that concluded there had been ‘some incidents’ of anti-Semitic behaviour, Labour’s NEC decided not to discipline the key perpetrators.
3. A Jewish Labour MP, Ruth Smeeth, was sent a 1,000 word death threat from a Corbyn-supporter calling her a ‘yid c–t’. The threat followed Smeeth’s decision to walk out of a meeting outlining Labour’s response to anti-semitism because she was accused of working ‘hand in hand with the right-wing media to attack Jeremy’. Smeeth then received 20,000 abusive messages and has since questioned whether Labour is still ‘a safe space for British Jews’.
4. A Labour council candidate in Peterborough, Alan Bull, shared anti-Semitic material online which claimed that the Holocaust was a ‘hoax’. The Labour party was made aware of the posts in 2017, but only suspended the candidate when contacted by the Jewish Chronicle in March 2018. Bull says he has never denied the Holocaust and re-posted the article in question to find out what his friends thought of it.
5. Jeremy Corbyn was an active member of an ‘anti-Semitic’ Facebook group, ‘Palestine Live’. The group included Holocaust denial, 9/11 conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs. He said he did not see the offensive posts and left in 2015.
6. A former Labour parliamentary candidate in Witham, John Clarke, shared a Neo-Nazi meme saying the Rothschild family has used money lending and Israel to ‘take over the world’. He said the meme ‘contained a great deal of truth’ and was later suspended.
7. Jeremy Corbyn had a ten-year association with a group which denied the Holocaust. Mr Corbyn was a ‘stalwart’ supporter of Deir Yassin Remembered, attending events in 2013, with the group’s founder, Paul Eisen, a self-professed Holocaust denier.
8. Jackie Walker, formerly vice-chair of Momentum, said Jews were the ‘chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade’, criticised security for Jewish schools, and said Holocaust Memorial Day was not ‘inclusive’ enough. After the comments were made and widely condemned, Corbyn shared a platform and campaigned alongside Walker.
9. Jeremy Corbyn hosted an Islamic cleric in Parliament in 2009, who in 2006 wrote that ‘Europe has made political correctness, the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshipping its alternative religion’.
10. Nasreen Khan, a Labour council candidate subsequently barred from standing, asked: ‘What have the Jews done good in this world?’. She said schools were ‘brainwashing us and our children into thinking the bad guy was Hitler’ and said ‘Jews have reaped the rewards of playing victims’.
11. A Labour councillor in Birmingham, Zafar Iqbal, shared a David Duke video on Facebook entitled ‘CNN Goldman Sachs and the Zio Matrix’. The Labour party accepted Mr Iqbal’s apology and claim that he had have no recollection of sharing this video’ – no disciplinary proceedings were enacted.
12. Two Jewish Labour councillors in Haringey resigned, saying it is impossible to be a Jewish Labour councillor due to overwhelming anti-Semitic abuse. Joe Goldberg and Natan Doron reported that ‘many members have repeated to me assertions about Jews having big noses, controlling the media and being wealthy’, and that a fellow councillor accused Goldberg of ‘bagel-barrel politics’. On his resignation, a Haringey Momentum activist tweeted to Goldberg: ‘At least [you] will have more time to count your money.’ Mr Goldberg said complaints he made to party officials were dismissed.
13. Andrew Slack, a councillor in Chesterfield, was suspended after sharing an anti-Semitic meme of a blood-smeared, hook-nosed Israeli soldier. The meme said ‘Israel was created by the Rothschilds’.
14. Bethany Barker, a student activist who introduced Jeremy Corbyn at a 2017 local elections campaign event, described a Kippah as a ‘Jew cap’ and said Andres Breivik, the Norwegian far-right terrorist, should ‘get forced to live in a synagogue’.
15. Pam Bromley, a Labour Councillor in Lancashire, posted links to an antisemitic article entitled ‘World War 3: Trump Begins Paying His Homage to Rothschilds,’ commenting ‘we must remember that Rothschilds are a powerful financial family (like the Medicis) and represent capitalism and big business’. Bromley is still a Labour councillor.
16. Ken Livingstone reportedly said a Jewish journalist was ‘just like a concentration camp guard’, that Jews vote Tory because they are rich and that Hitler supported Zionism. Livingstone quit the party after 100 Labour MPs called for Livingstone’s expulsion.
17. Terence Flanagan, a member of Hampstead and Kilburn CLP, compared a Jewish councillor to Josef Goebbels and, when calling for his expulsion, referred to former Labour donor Michael Foster allegedly as ‘the Jewish millionaire’. Flanagan was suspended, but then readmitted to the party after formal written warning.
18. Tim Lezard was offered a job to work at Labour’s Southside HQ, despite tweeting ‘I’m thinking of setting up another new campaign group. Either Conservative Friends of Nazis, or Nazi Friends of Israel.’ When his tweets were revealed the job offer was rescinded.
19. Labour Party member and Momentum Teesside activist Bob Campbell has shared an image of a rat marked with a Star of David and claimed Israel controls Isis. Campbell denied to the press that he had been suspended by the party.
20. Mike Sivier, author of the far-left Vox Political blog, has claimed there is a ‘conspiracy’ between Jews and those who defend them in the UK, saying: ‘We are being told that agents of a foreign country have infiltrated our institutions’. He was due to stand as a Labour candidate in council elections in 2017 but was suspended before the ballot took place.
21. Labour Councillor and former Labour Mayor of Blackburn, Salim Mulla, called Zionist Jews a ‘disgrace to humanity’, endorsed a video which blamed Israel for school shootings in the USA, and said ‘Zionism’ was orchestrating Isis. After an initial suspension he was reinstated as a Labour member.
22. In 2016, Aysegul Gurbuz, a Labour councillor in Luton, resigned after tweet surfaced where she said Hitler was ‘the greatest man in history’.
23. The chair of Manchester Labour Students, Tayyib Nawaz, resigned after tweets surfaced where he claimed ‘Hitler was Jewish’ and Israel was comparable to Isis.
24. A Labour Council candidate in Great Yarmouth claimed ‘it’s the super rich families of the Zionist lobby that control the world. Our world leaders sell their souls for greed and do the bidding of Israel.’ He was then dropped as a candidate.
25. Far-left activist Gerry Downing, a Labour member who claimed the existence of a ‘Jewish question’, said ‘elements of the Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie… have played a vanguard role for the capitalist offensive against the workers’, was expelled after then prime minister David Cameron brought his case up at PMQs.
26. Terry Kelly, a councillor in Renfrewshire, wrote that the ‘American Jewish lobby is extremely powerful and it has its boot on Obama’s neck’ and that the film ‘The King’s Speech’ might not win an Oscar because ‘there is a powerful Jewish lobby campaigning against the film because of its historical inaccuracy about Hitler and the anti-Semitism’. Mr Kelly was temporarily suspended in May 2016 before being reinstated a month later.
27. Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, was suspended from the party for sharing a post suggesting Israel should be ‘relocated’ to the United States and for saying that ‘the Jews are rallying’ to a Daily Mirror poll. She later apologised and was re-instated.
28. Former chair of Spitalfields and Banglatown Labour Party, Musabbir Ali, tweeted a far-right ‘timeline of the Jewish Genocide of the British People’. He was suspended after a complaint from the Jewish Labour Movement.
29. Former Lord Mayor of Bradford and Labour Councillor, Khadim Hussain, shared Facebook posts saying ‘Hitler killed six million Zionists’ and implying Israel ‘created the so-called Isis and… is arming those vile terrorists!’ He was suspended and subsequently resigned from the Labour party.
30. Jeremy Corbyn called anti-Semitic terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah ‘our friends’ when inviting them to speak in Parliament. He claimed the invitation to Hezbollah was ‘absolutely the right function of using parliamentary facilities’ and that the group was committed to ‘social justice and political justice’. Corbyn later said this was ‘inclusive language I used, which with hindsight I would rather not have used’.
31. Labour member John McAuliffe was suspended for describing the Holocaust as a ‘useful political tool’ of Israel ‘to establish a financial racket’, in a Facebook status.
32. Josh Simons, formerly a policy adviser in Corbyn’s office, said one member of Corbyn’s team referred to a ‘Jewish conspiracy’ in office discussions. Simons claimed Seumas Milne, Corbyn’s chief spokesperson, subjected him to an ‘inquisition’ about being Jewish, his family and his attitude to Israel.
33. A Momentum activist, Marlene Ellis, was suspended after saying, in an open letter in defence of Ken Livingstone, that Zionists were ‘involved with Nazis’ and that Labour sought to ‘curry favour with… the pro-Zionist lobby in and beyond the media’.
34. In December 2016, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attended the book launch of – and posed for pictures with – Hatem Bazian, organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (the IHRC). Bazian later apologised for anti-Semitic tweets where he shared a picture of an ultra-orthodox Jewish man with the message: ‘Mom, look! I is chosen! I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs and steal the land of Palestinians ‘Yay’ #Ashke-Nazi.’
35. Miqdad Al-Nuaimi, a councillor in Newport, was suspended after tweeting that ‘#Israel regime and army are increasingly assuming the arrogance and genocidal character of the #Nazis’ and that ‘Isis leader Al-Baghdadi dies in Israeli hospital…If confirmed, the #Israeli connection is very interesting’. He was initially suspended, but then cleared by the Labour party.
36. ‘Labour Insider’ blogger Phillip Jones branded Jewish journalist Emma Barnett a ‘Zionist’ after she challenged Corbyn on Labour’s spending plans on Women’s Hour.
37. Afzal Khan, then a Labour MEP and now the MP for Manchester Gorton, compared Israel to Nazis. No disciplinary action was taken.
38. A Labour council candidate in Wiltshire, Terry Couchman, ranted on social media about ‘ZioNazi stormtroopers of IsraHell’ and ‘fake Jews of IsraHell and the USA’. He was later suspended.
39. Vicki Kirby, formerly a Labour parliamentary candidate in Woking, had her membership reinstated after tweeting that Hitler might be a ‘Zionist God’ and Jews have ‘big noses’. She was subsequently re-suspended by the party.
40. Luke Cresswell, a Labour councillor in Suffolk, tweeted an image of a blood-soaked Israeli flag, accused Israel of genocide and captioned the image ‘Moses must be proud of you’. Though initially suspended, he was then re-admitted, and subsequently selected as a councillor.
41. Alison Gove-Humphries, a Labour council candidate in Birmingham, was deselected after sharing allegedly ‘anti-Semitic’ Facebook posts.
42. Max Tasker, a Labour councillor in North Wales, posted YouTube videos to his Facebook page with entitled: ‘Is Isis good for the Jews?’, ‘The whole story of Zionist conspiracy: the filthy history of pedophilia, murder and bigotry’, ‘Not for the immature! Zionist Antichrist will rule the [New World Order]’ and ‘Ukraine’s anti-Russian stance is a Zionist masterplan’.
43. A Labour councillor in Nottingham, Ilyas Aziz, was reinstated by Labour after being suspended for sharing posts from Neo-Nazi David Icke and a page called ‘Israel – Rothschilds’ Frankenstein Monster’.
44. Labour’s 2015 and 2017 parliamentary candidate in Tiverton and Honiton, Caroline Kolek, claimed Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi was buying oil from Isis to sell to Israel, and that Israel was behind the Sun newspaper’s push for UK military action in Syria. She also tweeted a quote by Mr Livingstone in which he claimed to be the victim of a 35-year smear campaign by the ‘Israel lobby’.
45. Rebecca Massey, a member in Hove, tweeted that ‘Israel has Tory and Labour parties under control’, and believes Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis is ‘manufactured’. No action was taken and Ms Massey went on to be appointed Treasurer of Hove and Portslade Labour party.
46. Mohammed Shabbir, a Labour councillor in Bradford, tweeted the conspiracy theory that Israel was behind Isis, accused Jews of ‘playing the Holocaust card’, and said the BBC was run by a ‘hasbara media cartel’.
47. Corbyn supporters in Bristol erected a 100-foot banner that depicted Theresa May wearing Star of David earrings, alongside anti Conservative slogans. Local Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire slammed the banner as anti-Semitic and it was taken down.
48. In 2012, Jeremy Corbyn defended an anti-Semitic mural in east London that depicted Jewish bankers playing a monopoly-style game on the backs of the poor. He has since apologised.
49. Jeremy Corbyn wrote a letter of support for Stephen Sizer, a vicar disciplined by the Church of England for sharing an article on social media entitled ‘9/11: Israel Did It’.
50. At a fringe event at Labour party Conference 2017 a speaker said people should be allowed to question whether the Holocaust happened, and there were calls for the Jewish Labour Movement to be expelled from the party.
51. Labour is being formally investigated by the EHRC into allegations of anti-Semitism. The probe is the first time a political party has been investigated by the watchdog since the BNP was the subject of an investigation in 2010.