This morning, the SKWAWKBOX published an analysis of the Commons Home Affairs Committee (CHAC) report that attacked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – even though the report itself is riddled with inconsistencies and even concludes that there is no evidence for a particular antisemitism problem in the Labour party.
Also today, Chuka Umunna, CHAC member and leading figure in Progress, the ‘right-wing entryist’ faction in Labour, issued a statement about the report in which he attempted to use statistics to justify his stance.
Daniel Fraser (@scepticseeker on Twitter) wrote a superb counter to Umunna’s claims, in which he dissects the claim of unique growth in antisemitic incidents in the UK by laying out the increase in other areas, which Mr Umunna disingenuously omitted from his calculations. Daniel has kindly given permission to reproduce that response here, in order to get the word out. It is quoted below just as he wrote it. I strongly recommend that, if you use Twitter, you follow Daniel for more excellent information.
In his statement on the home affairs committee report into antisemitism, Mr Umunna states that:
“Our report paints a picture of rising antisemitism in the UK over the last few years. There was a 29% increase in police-recorded anti-Semitic hate crime in England & Wales and Northern Ireland between 2010 and 2015, compared with a 9% increase across all the hate crime categories.”
I am utterly appalled by Mr Umunna’s blatant misrepresentation of the statistics. Mr Umunna appears to imply that antisemitism has risen more in comparison to other hate related crime. He achieves this by:
a) Conflating all other types of hate crime when comparing them to antisemitism.
b) Selectively using the year 2010 as his start point.
c) Ignoring the fact that statistics actually show a year on year reduction in the number of anti-Semitic hate crimes until the year 2014-2015 when there was a sharp increase from 318 to 629 cases. Interestingly, the timing of this increase coincides directly with the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.
Mr Umunna neglects to mention that during the same period 2010-2015:
• Disability hate crime increased 50%
• Transgender hate crime increased 70%
• Sexual Orientation hate crime increased 14%
• Faith hate crime increased 55%
• Race related hate crime increased 4%
He neglects to mention the numbers involved:
For example: In 2014-2015 there were 40744 recorded race related hate crimes compared to 629 recorded Anti-Semitic hate crimes. As an interesting aside, 429 of the latter (68%) were concentrated in London and Manchester where the UKs Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities are primarily concentrated.
He neglects to mention the startling rise in Islamophobia in the past year; Up by 59.4% in London alone.
If we take 2009 as our start point rather than 2010, we find that in the period of 2009-2015:
• Disability hate crime increased by 82%
• Transgender hate crime increased by 95%
• Sexual Orientation hate crime increased by16%
• Faith hate crime increased by 50%
• Race related hate crime decreased by 6%
• Total hate crime increased by 1%
• Anti-Semitic hate crime decreased by 11%
By altering the start point the stats on anti-Semitic crime change from an overall increase of 29% since 2010 (as reported by Mr Umunna) to an overall decrease of 11% since 2009.
Furthermore, these figures do not express hate crime percentages in relation to the size of the targeted populations. Without being privy to data on the percentage of the population each year who were Jewish, Disabled, Transgendered etc. in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (the stats do not include Scotland), it is impossible to calculate which population is statistically more at risk and whether their risk of hate related crime has risen relative to any other group.
Personally I find all forms of hate crime, prejudice and discrimination equally abhorrent. This includes of course anti-Semitism. I absolutely agree that we all have a fundamental responsibility to swiftly and directly tackle prejudice and discrimination whenever and wherever they occur.
I find it equally abhorrent however, that data should be manipulated and misrepresented in a way that severely downplays and invalidates the sufferings of certain minority groups over the sufferings of others.
I belong to several of the groups which Mr Umunna overlooked in this way and I find it personally and politically incredibly offensive.
One of the key criticisms in the Home Affairs Report is that “Mr Corbyn’s frequent conflation of antisemitism with all other forms of racism has encouraged some anti-Semites”. How then, by such logic, is it acceptable for Mr Umunna to conflate all forms of “isms” and “phobias” as he has done.