(JTA) – British police arrested three people near London suspected of inciting anti-Semitic hatred in the Labour Party’s ranks.
The arrests, which happened earlier this month but were reported only Thursday on Sky News and other media, were rare interventions by law enforcement against suspected propagators of anti-Semitism within the party.
Two men in their 50s were arrested in Birmingham and Tunbridge Wells on March 7 and March 14, respectively. A woman in her 70s was arrested on related charges on March 21. They were held briefly in connection with material “likely to stir up racial hatred” and released pending further inquiries, a police spokesman told Sky.
The three were expelled from the party or left following disciplinary action, according to the report.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews called the arrests “highly significant.” The Campaign Against Antisemitism group called on police to make additional arrests.
Thousands of cases of alleged hate speech against Jews have been recorded within Labour since 2015, when Jeremy Corbyn, a far-left politician, was elected to lead the party. The Board of Deputies has accused Corbyn of encouraging anti-Semitic rhetoric and at times engaging in it, though he disputes the claim.
Following growing public scrutiny of the problem, Labour is facing the prospect of an official inquiry into it by the United Kingdom’s Equality and Human Right’s Commission, the main government anti-racism watchdog.