Late last month the British Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) concluded that the Labour Party had broken the law by failing to handle complaints of anti-Semitism appropriately.
An investigation into antisemitism in the party by the commission found it responsible for “unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” – and said there was political interference into complaints…
The investigation found evidence of 23 instances of “political interference” by Mr Corbyn’s office and others in the antisemitism complaints process, out of the 70 files the watchdog looked at.
Given that this issue had dogged Corbyn throughout his campaign to be Prime Minister, you would think he would take extra care in what he said about it. But that’s not what happened:
He said Jewish Labour members were right to expect the party to deal with antisemitism, and that “I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should”.
But, he added: “The scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party.”
And just like that, Corbyn was suspended from the party he’s belonged to his entire adult life. At the time he promised to contest it:
I will strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me.
I’ve made absolutely clear those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong.
I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 29, 2020
Today, Corbyn was reinstated after he issued a statement on Facebook which basically said he never meant to downplay the findings of the EHRC report. The NY Times called the reversal “tepid” and pointed out not everyone was satisfied with it:
Britain’s main opposition party, Labour, readmitted its former leader Jeremy Corbyn after he tepidly reversed course on comments last month suggesting that problems with the party’s handling of anti-Semitism allegations had been “overstated.”…
While Labour may have hoped that reinstating Mr. Corbyn would restore a measure of equanimity to the party, it did not immediately seem to have that effect. Some groups of British Jews long opposed to Mr. Corbyn’s leadership reacted angrily, and some Labour lawmakers were said to oppose the decision, too.
“Any reasonable and fair-minded observer would see Jeremy Corbyn’s statement today as insincere and wholly inadequate,” the Jewish Labour Movement said in a statement. “Once again we find ourselves having to remind the Labour Party that Jeremy Corbyn is not the victim of Labour anti-Semitism — Jewish members are.”…
“The Jewish community does not accept this pathetic non-apology from Jeremy Corbyn,” Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said in a statement. “Keir Starmer rightly called the day of the release of the E.H.R.C. report a ‘day of shame.’ Jeremy Corbyn’s response, by contrast, was shameless.”
You can read Corbyn’s statement for yourself. Is he sincere or is this just more deflection.
Prior to the election back in November of 2019 I wrote about his interview with Andrew Neil. Even then Corbyn tried putting aside the whole problem inside the party and when pinned down on specific incidents he really didn’t have much to say. I suspect not much has changed. Here’s a bit of that interview: