British Labour Party looking into 250 complaints of anti-Semitic abuse


(JTA) — The British Labour Party is investigating more than 250 complaints of anti-Semitic abuse.

The Jewish Labour Movement turned over the complaints to the party, many of them appearing on social media and related to Margaret Hodge.

Hodge, a Labour lawmaker, confronted party leader Jeremy Corbyn after the decision earlier this month to adopt a softened definition of anti-Semitism, calling him a “f***ing anti-Semite and a racist” and urging him to quit the party. The party has warned Hodge that she will be disciplined.

A second lawmaker, Ian Austin, a supporter of Labour Friends of Israel whose adoptive father was a Czech Jewish refugee from the Nazis, also faces party discipline after saying in a radio interview that Corbyn has been “supporting and defending all kinds of extremists and in some cases, frankly, anti-Semites,” and called the Labour Party a “sewer.”

Among the anti-Semitic social media posts attacking Hodge, some called her a “Zionist bitch” and accused her of being paid for her support by Israel. Other posts on pro-Corbyn Facebook groups are alleged to have drawn parallels between Israel and the Nazis.

An unnamed Labour source told The Sun tabloid that the majority of those reported for anti-Semitic abuse were not party members.

“We have now processed all 252 names and identified those who are members of the party,” Sophie Goodyear, head of complaints at the Labour Party, wrote to the Jewish Labour Movement, the daily newspaper The Independent reported Sunday. “These individuals are now being dealt with through the next step of our procedure for complaints of anti-Semitism.”

Labour under Corbyn, a hard-left politician who has called Hezbollah and Hamas his “friends” and who is fighting accusations of harboring anti-Semitic sentiments, has come under intense scrutiny in the media over anti-Semitic rhetoric by party members. In 2016, an interparliamentary committee accused Labour of creating a “safe space for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people.”

Corbyn has maintained that Labour will not tolerate racist rhetoric by its members. Dozens were kicked out over anti-Semitic statements. However, the party has kept on many Labour members whom Jewish community leaders said engaged in anti-Semitic hate speech.

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