(JTA) – The head of the Jewish Labour Movement in Britain accused the Labour Party leadership of failing to deal with “a vast backlog” of complaints about anti-Semitism in the party ranks.
Jeremy Newmark, national chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, on Saturday night also accused the party of letting a second investigation into former London mayor Ken Livingstone get “stuck in the system” ahead of local elections in May. Livingstone’s two-year suspension from a previous investigation into his anti-Semitic comments, including that the Nazis were Zionists, ends in April.
“We will be closely monitoring the outcomes of a number of high-profile cases due to be determined by the national constitutional committee over the weeks ahead,” Newmark told the Observer daily in comments that were widely reported.
His comments came as unnamed sources in the party told the newspaper that party activists were planning legal action against the party for failing to act on complaints about anti-Semitic incidents and behaviours. Some of the complaints are at least six months old.
Meanwhile, a member of the Labour Party’s national executive committee is under fire for a tweet claiming there is a “Jewish conspiracy” against the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
Darren Williams, who ran Corbyn’s leadership campaigns in Wales, “liked” a tweet by Mike Hamblett, who describes himself as an eco-warrior. The tweet attacked the GnasherJew Twitter account, which calls out anti-Semitic social media activity by Labour Party leaders and members.
“There are conspiracies by Jews – one of them being the #GnasherJew site – there are conspiracies in all walks of life – I believe #GnasherJew is causing a lot of grief for decent Jews in Britain who don’t like fanaticism – so counter-productive,” the Hamblett tweet said.
In a statement, Williams defended himself against accusations of anti-Semitism, and said he feared “certain individuals” misuse accusations of anti-Semitism to target “those who are merely voicing legitimate criticisms of the Israeli state,” the Jewish Chronicle reported.
Under Corbyn, who has called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends,” thousands of people, many from the far left, joined Labour in a development that leaders of British Jewry said has generated an anti-Semitism problem in the party’s ranks.
Amid unprecedented media attention to Labour’s anti-Semitism problem, Corbyn vowed to kick out anyone making racist statements. Dozens of Labour members have been kicked out on rhetoric deemed anti-Semitic, but many others have been allowed to stay or were readmitted, such as Livingstone.