EHRC is doing a welcome job – but it is not ‘investigating’ Labour

‘Mainstream’ media is misrepresenting status of EHRC discussions with Labour Party

The ‘mainstream’ media are reporting that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is investigating the Labour Party in relation to complaints about how the party handles antisemitism complaints.

Sadly, the level of accuracy in the claims is all too typical of the skewed way in which the ‘MSM’ approach any issues related to the Labour Party or its leadership.

An EHRC spokesperson confirmed to the SKWAWKBOX today that there is presently no investigation. Rather, the Commission is simply treating complaints from two organisations – the Campaign against Antisemitism (CAA) and the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) with due seriousness and has opened a conversation with the Labour Party to find out the party’s version of events and response to criticism.

If the EHCR is dissatisfied with Labour’s responses, an investigation may be opened – but none has been opened yet.

The EHCR would not comment on specifics, saying that the terms of reference of an investigation will be made public if an investigation is started – but the spokesperson made clear that at this stage the evidence amounts to the claims and submissions of the two organisations in question.

The media claims are therefore inaccurate – in essence, the EHCR is doing its job and taking complaints seriously until they have been properly assessed. If they are found to be accurate, an investigation may follow.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The scrutiny – though not the false headlines – should be welcomed by Labour members and supporters. The processes put in place since general secretary Jennie Formby took up the position last year are far ahead of those used by any other political party and Labour has no need to fear an examination of them.

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47 responses to “EHRC is doing a welcome job – but it is not ‘investigating’ Labour

  1. I wonder how JLM will react when the ECHR gives the Labour Party a clean bill of health

  2. Margret Hodge’s folder certainly has done the rounds hasn’t it? Skwawk, any follow up on when it landed on Crissida Dick’ss lap in Nov?

    Labour really wants to make a point of telling the media it’s not the party’s job to educate Hodge on how the internet works.

  3. I’m not sure how that statement from a spokesman :

    ““Having received a number of complaints regarding antisemitism in the Labour party, we believe Labour may have unlawfully discriminated against people because of their ethnicity and religious beliefs.”

    .. relates comfortably to the other statement :

    “An EHRC spokesperson confirmed to the SKWAWKBOX today that there is presently no investigation. ”

    … am I alone in seeing a bit of a disconnect, even if the first statement doesn’t directly confirm an investigation ?

    … or is there a bit of rowing back from a careless utterance that gave the MSM an opportunity.? There was no need to say any more than that complaints had been received that would be evaluated.

    • There’s nothing to investigate. “The party” has never discriminated against anyone. There’s no such thing as antisemitic policy.
      This is however, another propaganda coup, giving yet more anti Corbyn smoke to an ever willing media. It’s another nail in Corbyn’s political coffin and a coup for Hodge & Co.

      • lundiel 07/03/2019 at 5:48 pm

        It’s another nail in Corbyn’s political coffin and a coup for Hodge & Co.

        Until it backfires on Hodge and Co when the EHRC dismisses the complaints by the JLM and endorses Labour’s anti-Semitism procedures. This ‘investigation’ may prove to be a blessing if it undermines the likes of Hodge’s disingenuous posturing.

      • I’m afraid the damage is already done. I have spoken to people who don’t know what’s going on but believe there’s no smoke without fire. Even when this is dismissed, it’s unlikely that will be widely reported.

  4. I have written to EHRC requesting information with reference to the politics involved in accusations/complaints made & any actions taken by them. I would like the EHRC to publicly disclose which definition of Anti-Semitism they would use before making any judgement & why that criteria was selected. I await their decision & a full report, but I will not hold my breath.

  5. I’d like to think the EHRC will be even handed about this but I’m not encouraged by the fact that back in September 2017 Rebecca Hilsenrath, CEO of EHRC tweeted “Anti-Semitism is racism and the Labour Party needs to do more to establish that it is not a racist party,” which would rather suggest that she has swallowed a certain narrative. I could find no tweets from Ms Hilsenrath relating to racism in any other UK political party. The EHRC chairman, David Isaac, is harder to pin down on this issue but suffice it to say he is the first to applaud whenever Penny Mordaunt gives a speech about equal rights.

    As regards the complainants both are avowed supporters of Israel: most people know about JLM but CAA seems to have appeared around the time of the Gaza bombardment and the election of Corbyn and is almost certainly connected to the Israeli government’s campaign to fight back against BDS and attempts to isolate Israel. Even the Community Security Trust and Jewish Chronicle have accused it of using intemperate language and pouring petrol on the fire.

    Israel has a massively well-funded ministry of Strategic Affairs with its own Minister Gilad Erdan, devoted entirely to blackening BDS and anti-Zionist activists, often, I would imagine, using a whole range of dirty tricks as well as straight forward denials.

    https://electronicintifada.net/content/campaign-against-antisemitism-campaign-against-palestinians

    ITV reported the situation thus earlier today: “The action comes in response to complaints from a number of organisations and individuals, including the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. The campaign’s chairman Gideon Falter said: “The Labour Party has repeatedly failed to address its own anti-Semitism problem, resulting in MPs and members abandoning the party. “It is a sad indictment that the once great anti-racist Labour Party is now being investigated by the equality and human rights regulator it established just a decade ago.””

    The problem with this formulation is that it doesn’t mention that Mr. Falter is a racist with a hidden agenda. He is also on the board of the Jewish National Fund UK, which controls 13% of the land in Israel and whose statutes forbid it from leasing land to non-Jews (i.e. Palestinians). Indeed the Green Party have campaigned to have JNF-UK’s charitable status removed on the grounds that it is a racist institution.

    The other sickening thing to note is that the formulation “once great anti-racist Labour Party” is being parroted by people like McDonagh, Watson, Berger, McTernan, Blair – and people who’ve got nothing to do with the Labour Party like Falter and Pollard – as if they were all reading from the sam hymn sheet. This the Labour Party that was making mugs supporting immigration controls and de facto May’s hostile environment until Corbyn came along!

    I hope Skwawk is right but ever an optimist, even I am becoming cynical. One thing we must never do is to surrender any ground to the enemies of socialism. They want Corbyn removed as leader and the party purged of socialists. Once that has been achieved, suddenly there will never have been a problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party and it will disappear, just as Cinderella’s coach and four become a pumpkin and mice again as midnight strikes. I will resist that outcome with the last breath in my body.

    • Excellent piece there, labre.

      I was wondering just the other day what would happen to Labour’s AS “problem” if Corbyn were to be removed as leader.

      I think you’re right. It would disappear down the memory hole quicker than the splitters moving to re-join the party!

  6. One hopes that if /when Labour is exonerated over these false bullshit AS statements , that the leadership ” grows some ” and starts as Chris Williamson did , to denounce and push back against those who bring false AS accusations. This shows that appeasement does not work when those who you are trying to be reasonable with CAA JLM LFI , are driven by one goal and one goal only . These organisations are not the friends of Labour , there is ample past evidence of the connections they have with the Govt of Israel and it’s drive to silence any criticism and remove any possibility of a pro Palestinian Prime Minister .And to hell with any and all of the great policies in our Manifesto , that would help stop the deaths of many poor and vulnerable people in our society beign caused by the Tory policies .Their drive transcends all of that and if it means Labour fails to win power , then great mission accomplished .

  7. Open comment to the blogger.

    Dear Skwarkie,

    Please stop taking the Labour line, hook, line and sinker. The nuances are always in the comments, which are more telling than any of your headlines.

    This moral panic about AS has been in the making for the last four years. The Zionists have been picking off members (and still do) without any comment from the only political blogger that could have made a difference. You have ignored our comments, concerns and pleas.

    We are now in the end game and the Zionists have the upper hand, only because the party and it’s outlets for information have stubbornly refused to admit there was a problem with the Zionists.

    Jennie Formby similarly has refused to tackle this head on, giving in to every accusation without defending the victims of accusations, even before any investigation has begun i.e. Chris Williamson (there are others too many to mention).

    We are where we are now, because the Party, it’s officers and members, it’s supporters (Momentum, in particular the senior officials) and it’s few media outlets have ignored (willfully) what has been happening.

    • To adapt an ELO song:
      ‘Hold on tight to your dreams.
      Oh Jeremy Corbyn!
      Hold on tight to your dreams.
      Oh Jeremy Corbyn!
      When you need a shoulder to cry on.
      When you need someone to rely on
      Hold on tight to your dreams.
      Oh Jeremy Corbyn!
      2nd French verse and:
      Oui Jeremy Corbyn!

      Remember we have many ideas, theirs are the few!

  8. How much longer will the Corbyn team debase themselves in an attempt to win over, in the majority, Tory-voting racists and those in the Labour Party that defend [by their silence, or worse] the war crimes of the Israeli state and its armed forces.

    • that’s what politics is about today, sadly. They have the power to persuade a lot of dumb people but we have the power to persuade a lot of clever people. I think we will win eventually.

    • “in the majority, Tory-voting racists and those in the Labour Party that defend [by their silence, or worse] the war crimes of the Israeli state and its armed forces: why don’t you just say what you really mean, Jan and say “Jews” (except perhaps the tiny minority of “anti-Zionist” Jews)?

      • Jim Denham 08/03/2019 at 10:40 am

        Not all Zionists are Jews, and likewise not all Jews are Zionists.

      • “why don’t you just say what you really mean, Jan and say “Jews””

        Because only an idiot or the terminally ill-informed would really think that was what was meant.

    • As usual, another incisive article by Jonathan Cook – one (ex) Guardian journalist who puts his money where his mouth is, living in Palestine.

      It is certainly tough reading in relation to the Party’s history regarding Palestine. I think my main concern at the level of the local member is not, however, been antagonism towards Palestinians, but a general ignorance about the situation – an ignorance that is even more widespread amongst the general population.

      One good thing that may come out of the current scam is, I sense, a deepening general knowledge and awareness of the history and current state of affairs in Palestine/Israel. Certainly, the growth of membership has brought in fresh insights and facts – not least with Jewish members unimpressed by the BoD establishment. These, as witnessed in the JVL, make some of the most intellectually coherent arguments against the falsity of the status quo. Which is, of course why they are targeted by the pro-Israel scammers.

      I have argued that this is the time – despite the fork-tongued antagonism – to push back against Israeli-driven fictions and embed proper regard for the Palestinian people within the anti-racist framework of Labour policy. Those who who wish to maintain disgraceful and illogical support for apartheid, land theft and ethnic cleansing should depart. This anti-racist Party, by definition, is not for them (although I would prefer that they see the light – a sinner that repents etc.).

      • RH 08/03/2019 at 12:08 am

        We are not the only country where the Israeli State exercises undue influence. It is remarkable how similar the tactics are in the US. On the plus side there appears to be a growing awareness that this influence. is a hostile one that is undermining democracy. There was a really good article in Tuesday’s Washington Post.

        The dishonest smearing of Ilhan Omar
        n what is surely the most shameful decision of her current term as speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has decided that the time has come for the House to rebuke Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for things she didn’t actually say, and ideas she didn’t actually express. In the process, Pelosi and other Democrats are helping propagate a series of misconceptions about anti-Semitism, Israel, and U.S. political debate.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/05/dishonest-smearing-ilhan-omar/

      • As we know, the only problem we – on the left – have with anti-semitism, is the one that has been contrived and manufactured by our enemies. We know, for example, that when Ken said, in passing, that Hitler supported Zionism, he was alluding to an historical fact – ie the Haavara Agreement, which led to the lifting of the Zionist boycott of Nazi Germany. And yet it led to a blitzkrieg of hysteria and denunciation and condemnation, all of which was completely false and phoney – just actors acting out their part. Theatre on steroids.

        Like the population in general, I doubt anyone who follows skwawkbox had ever heard of the agreement PRIOR to Ken’s interview – including myself – OR the Zionist boycott of Nazi Germany, and it was only in the weeks and months afterwards that we learnt about it. But even PRIOR to learning about it, I’m sure, that like myself, just about everyone on the left instinctively knew that Ken WASN’T anti-semitic, on the one hand, and that the Tory press, who led the charge, were smearing Ken for obvious reasons, on the other.

        The point I am making is that those who contrived to falsely attack Ken KNEW of course that next to no-one had ever heard of the HA, and that they could get away with all their faux outrage and condemnation precisely for that reason. In other words, if the HA had been common knowledge, then they couldn’t, and wouldn’t have been able to falsely attack him, precisely because the majority of the population would have known what Ken was alluding to. And in such a scenario, we wouldn’t have ever heard a dickybird about the interview, and 99.5% of the population wouldn’t have known that it even happened (apart from the 0.5%, or whatever, who listened to the program), precisely because those looking for something to smear him with couldn’t, and wouldn’t have been able to falsely smear him on account of what he said.

        And my overall point is that if ‘they’ can conjure up a storm, as they did in Ken’s case, out of nothing, then they can do it again and again and again and again, AND, as we all know, THAT is PRECISELY what they have done.

        Get the truth out there about Ken (to all the millions of people who have been duped and hoodwinked by the Smearers and Demonisers) *AND* give a range of examples of how the press and the news networks and individuals (who were quoted by the press and dissembled their falsehoods on TV) ‘responded’ at the time – and SINCE – naming and shaming them for being complicit in a Gargantuan Deception of the British public, AND subverting democracy, as such, AND using the very thing that led to the Holocaust as a weapon against their enemies (as they no doubt regard them), AND for causing alarm and consternation amongst a large section of the Jewish community (which of course exemplifies just how much THEY care about the Jewish community), AND for falsely attacking and vilifying and smearing numerous innocent people, like Ken Livingstone.

        Research, compose, print off as many copies as you can, and then go out and put the leaflets through peoples doors (and at the end of the leaflet obviously say to please copy and circulate to friends and family and neighbours and work colleages etc). And needless to say, point out that Ken is far from the only person they smeared, and that the same is true for ALL the other high profile cases – and many others – AND for those who defended them, and were then smeared themselves.

        Shine a light on this evil and expose them for what they are AND liberate all those who have been deceived.

      • I agree with you, Allan about the need to spread honest information to counter the MSM falsehoods and, beyond those, general lack of knowledge.(Note the Groan has yet another item claiming ‘institutional antisemitism’ in Labour.

        It isn’t a quick fix solution, but it is one that works over time. In fact, the present upsurge of ‘antisemite’ falsehoods is testimony, booth here and in the US, that people *are* becoming more aware of the actuality. Thus the frantic efforts by Israel to wind up the propaganda initiative.

        The hard fact is that even many well-intentioned individuals have not been aware of what the situation actually is in Palestine/Israel – it has been on the periphery of their vision, with a false narrative dripped from the MSM. Of course, this is the reason why the Groan has been so spectacularly active – it is the paper read by a lot who are susceptible to the actuality if it is revealed.

        It really is worth just putting alternative information in front of people whose perceptions have been shaped by the right-wing shutdown on the facts. Simple things such as getting Christmas cards or presents from the PSC, or other Palestinian sources do have an awareness-raising effect. I dished out wrist-bands and information one Christmas. It’s not dramatic, but, amongst everyone’s small circle, it alerts and counters the dominant narrative in a small way.If somebody asks ‘What the f. is this about?’ then it’s a start. Knocking bricks out of the wall one by one.

        Often, it’s focus that is needed. I hadn’t been totally *unaware* of the situation when, some 20-30 years ago, I visited Israel. But it wasn’t a central concern. It was experiencing the half-perceived discomfort and oddness of the place that was my personal stimulus for it to become a focus and light dawned..This was an uneasy colony superimposed on the landscape and population.

        So – the slow process of raising more general awareness is an important function – a process that the absurdity of the Hodges of this world may help with their accusations and statements so detached from reality.

        And – of course true ‘Friends of Israel’ will actually want to create a country that is at ease with itself by understanding (as many do) that the indigenous population has rights that need to be recognised, and that an apartheid constitution has no place in a democratic country, and that an uneasy ‘peace’ sustained by brute force is no future at all.

  9. Saw an interesting poem:
    “If they expelled 500,000.
    The institutionally anti-socialists would not be satisfied.
    And the weary war of attrition will continue.
    Until the dreams of you and Jeremy they have died.
    But who will stop the War in Yeman?
    And who will fight for the poor here too?
    Who will confront Far Right Barbarians on our streets?
    Answer: The many, not the few!”
    Left wing democratic socialism and peace!
    Solidarity to diverse working people in every country!
    X

  10. Interesting comment from the Secretary of the JLM regarding their votes to stay affiliated

    JLM national secretary Peter Mason said: “The message from the Jewish Labour Movement this evening was absolutely clear.

    “If the Labour Party fails to show solidarity to us, we will not show solidarity to it.

    “That counts for MPs who do not sign their names to letters showing solidarity with us, that counts for Members of the Scottish Parliament, that counts for councillors.

    “But we as a Jewish movement will make it very clear to the party leadership: we are not going anywhere, we are staying, we are standing and we are fighting against the corrupted anti-Semitism that has gripped our party.”

    So there you have it , all Labour MPs must now sign a pledge of allegiance to the JLM , or else ……
    I wonder if the JLM would like to sign their names to letters showing solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and our democratically elected leadership.
    I think the word NUTs comes to mind , just insane what’s happening here .
    Can you imagine the MSM explosion of fury if the Unions insisted that ALL Labour MPs sign a letter of solidarity to Unison or Unite or GMB or Arthur Scargill demanded they sign one to the NUM
    Unbelievable arrogance by Mason .

    • “I wonder if the JLM would like to sign their names to letters showing solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and our democratically elected leadership”

      That’s actually a secondary issue. The challenge that needs to be made is that of statements reinforcing the natural rights of Palestinians whilst protecting Israelis.

      The problem now is that the superficial compromise notion of a ‘two state’ solution has become almost impossible to fulfill, even given Israeli good faith (a snowball-in-hell entity)

      The only logic, therefore is a ‘one state’ solution, which means that the notion of a state that elevates one religion has to change.

  11. I would welcome a full investigation into anti semitism within our party by both the EHRC and the police. I am confident that the number of incidents of deliberate anti semitism would be a tiny proportion of our members. I also believe there would be a tiny proportion of our members guilty of ignorance which resulted in unintentional antisemitism.
    Simultaneously I would like to see the statistics published regarding the number of Jewish PCPs we nominate,MPs we elect, the time and money we spend on campaigning for each of them, the number of Labour voters who voted for them etc.I would then like to see the comparative statistics for BAME Muslim Hindu and Sikh members taking into account the make up of the population in all cases.
    I would like to see the same exercise carried out in respect of the Tory party. As the MSM is unlikely to publish the results I would like to see the results on Facebook Twitter and all the other social media platforms.
    These results should be referred to in detail in response to every accusation of anti semitism whether is made online, on TV or in the press. Barry Gardiner recently made a good start but it is not enough to say only a tiny fraction of our members are antisemetic. We can quite easily demonstrate that far from being ” institutionally anti semetic” statistics show that our the party “institutionally” favours Jewish people over every other minority group. This point needs to be hammered home to put an end to the unfounded accusation of “Institutional anti semitism “

    • Excellent suggestion , Smartboy by name and example , well done.
      Perhaps send this over to Jenny Formby for consideration , maybe just maybe the team might do it and help us to fight back with simple facts and data

    • Smartboy “our the party “institutionally” favours Jewish people over every other minority group”

      Only if they are not anti-Zionist. Those who oppose Zionism get the boot.

      • Absolutely. Jewish supporters of the Palestinian cause (of which there are many) have been particularly targeted by the Israel lobby.

      • By IHRA definition, your accusation is an ‘Anti-Semitic Trope’ & therefore ‘Catch 22’ evidence that the whole of the Labour Party is Ant-Semitic & proof absolute that we are guilty.

      • As commented on before – the Equality Act actually makes those IHRA ‘examples’ actually an offense!

      • The number of Jewish MPs we elect is disproportionate to the number of Jewish people in the population. Approx a quarter of a million of our citizens are Jewish out of a population of approx 65 million. There are 650 seats in parliament – one per 100,000 of the population. Our Jewish brothers and sisters are therefore well represented by our party in Westminister. To call us an institutionally anti Semetic party is therefore absurd.

  12. A friend recently told me an interesting story.
    His name is Tommie Watson (no relation to the) and he had a dream.
    In this he had blagged his way into attending a secret Away Day at a plush London hotel and present were reps from the Neo-Liberal capitalist media, some Right Wing Labour MPs and reps from Right Wing Jewish groups.
    In this dream he said he managed to secretly record part of the meeting:
    Facilitator – “Right Colleagues, what do we want?”
    Neo-Lib media – “An end to potential threats against Neo-Liberal capitalism’s dominance.”
    Right Wing Labour MPs – “To get back to a cosy Parliamentary club where we just offer crumbs to working people and in return we have nice, interesting and well rewarded careers in the limelight without pesky socialists!”
    Right Wing Jewish Groups -“A Labour Party which offers total and uncritical support to Israel.”
    Faciltator – “So what’s the common denominator?”
    Whole Group – “Jeremy Corbyn!”
    Facilitator – “So should we cooperate to get rid?”
    Whole group – “Hear! Hear!”
    Faciltator – “More champagne anyone?”
    Some people have odd dreams.
    NB – any resemblance to any real persons in this story is purely coincidental.

  13. The evidence against JLM continues to build

    Jewish Labour Movement was re-founded to fight Corbyn
    A right-wing organization with intimate ties to the Israeli embassy, the Jewish Labour Movement claims to have been affiliated to Labour for a century.
    But a transcript of an undercover recording, obtained by The Electronic Intifada, casts doubt on this narrative.
    It indicates that the dormant Jewish Labour Movement was revived by political allies of Israel as a weapon against Corbyn, the left and the wider Palestine solidarity movement.

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/jewish-labour-movement-was-refounded-fight-corbyn

  14. Yes someone once argued Right Wing Jewish groups try to bog organisations down by having to deal with claims of AS and so are this distracted from supporting justice for Palestinians and peace for all citizens in that region.
    Best book I read on the issue in years is Bernard Regan’s on The Balfour Declaration which shows a Home for Jewish people in Palestine was driven by British Inperialist interests.
    As one then Tory MP said: “We will have a little loyal Jewish Ulster surrounded by a sea of Arab antagonism.”
    Naura Ereket, Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer, nailed it in my opinion.
    Because of US financial support and overt and covert miltary support Naura argues Israel will not talk peace “Because it wants to maintain its religious, ethnic and economic supremecy.”
    Tragically it’s as simple as that.
    As I say we must fight for Peace in this region for all citizens and justice for Palestinians!

    • Is there anywhere that the Israeli State doesn’t exercise undue and disproportionate influence?

      More than two dozen US states have passed anti-BDS legislation, denying companies and individual contractors dealing with the government of that particular state the right to boycott Israel. In every case, Israel is the only country protected by these laws. Last month, the US Senate passed a bill that adds federal weight to this state-level campaign of intimidation.
      The hypocrisy of these states – urging peace in the region while doing their best to subvert it – is clear. Now the danger is that UN leaders will join them.

      https://www.jonathan-cook.net/2019-03-10/un-list-firms-profit-israel-settlements/

  15. The BTL comments section here is ready-made evidence of the anti-Semitism prevalent on sections of the so-called “left”.

    • Really? Could you please point out the specific instances of anti-Semitism and explain why you allege that they are anti-Semitic?

      • Jim Denham 11/03/2019 at 11:39 am

        Read the thread above.

        Thankyou for your suggestion but I’ve already done that and I had been unable detect the

        ready-made evidence of the anti-Semitism

        that you claim is present.

        As you have already found what you assert to be anti-Semitism I was confident that you, as a self proclaimed ‘expert’ on anti-Semitism, would have no difficulty in pointing out precisely what I’d missed.

        However if you are unable to point out the ready-made evidence of the anti-Semitism you assert exists I will inevitably be forced to conclude that me faith in your self proclaimed ‘expertise’ was misplaced.

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