Leaked report alleges ‘culture of antisemitism’ in Newham Labour Party
PUBLISHED: 12:51 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 17:00 05 November 2020
An academic says there has been a “culture of antisemitism” in the borough’s Labour Party branch.
In a leaked investigation report, Goldsmith’s lecturer David Hirsh details a complaint by Cllr Joshua Garfield about a “culture of accepted antisemitism” in Newham Labour.
He was asked to investigate by mayor Rokhsana Fiaz.
The complaint was triggered by the exclusion of Cllr Garfield - the borough’s sole Jewish member - from the Newham Labour Facebook group by an administrator, Cllr John Gray, the report says.
Cllr Garfield included a total of four examples of antisemitism published in the Facebook group in two complaints sent to the mayor, in January and February.
Mr Hirsh says the examples were “representative” of material published “routinely” since at least 2018.
The report, obtained by OnLondon and shared with the Recorder, finds Cllr Gray “does not espouse antisemitic stereotypes or politics” and “expressed no negative opinion towards Jews”.
It adds that Cllr Gray neither shared nor defended the “antisemitic material”.
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The report author says he found no evidence of Cllr Garfield calling Cllr Gray an antisemite, which was an accusation sufficient to warrant expulsion from the Facebook group.
Mr Hirsh claims that as a group administrator, Cllr Gray “failed to oppose antisemitism even when it was his role to do so”.
Formal complaints against Cllr Garfield by other Labour Party members, relating to his opposition to antisemitism, “were themelves elements of the antisemitic culture of the Labour Party”, the report states.
The academic’s investigation “takes as established fact” that there was a widespread culture of antisemitism in the Labour Party nationally while acknowledging Labour has apologized and promised to change.
Mr Hirsh praises Ms Fiaz’s action in opposing the “culture” in Newham, but adds she “should have done more”.
“It should never have been left to the Jewish member to fight antisemitism. It ought to have been the responsibility of all Labour Party members”, the report states.
The report goes on to state the mayor was responsible for the council and Labour Group when Labour nationally was “torn apart” by “factionalism”, but that she also had “particular difficulties” with “ethnic and communal politics”.
The Recorder believes the national party is looking into the allegations about Newham Labour.
However, the local Labour Group office did not respond to requests for comment.
A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”
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