'The Labour party is not overrun by anti-Semitism' is the first line of Shami Chakrabarti’s report in June of 2016. The paper was nonsensical from start to finish. The conclusions drawn from it could not be further from the truth. The Labour party is not just overrun by anti-Semitism, it is plagued by it, and the events of this week have only served to reaffirm this.
On the 5th April, the decision was made, despite overwhelming evidence, to suspend and not expel Ken Livingstone from the Labour party. This came following comments suggesting that Hitler supported Zionism, as well as defending Labour MP Naz Shah’s anti-Semitic Facebook post. Corbyn has decided to come out and defend it, and has faced major opposition within his own party, facing criticism from 100 of his own MPs.
Those defending Livingstone’s actions have gone down one of two routes: either this is another example of the agenda against Corbyn and the people around him, or what Mr Livingstone said was in fact the truth, Hitler is in fact a Zionist, and therefore there is no reason for Livingstone to apologise.
It is the latter which I find the most disturbing, Hitler did not support the formation of a Jewish state, the period of history he is referring to is the forced emigration of Jews from Germany by Nazi’s through means of economic motivation.
Whilst I could try and rationalise just how wrong he is, one simple quote from Hitler himself, found in Mein Kampf aptly does that for me. Hitler states, ‘all they want is a central organisation for their international world swindler, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks’. Clearly, Hitler was not a Zionist.
The Naz Shah incident is by no means isolated, Livingstone is a repeat offender. In 1984, he accused the Board of Deputies of British Jews of being ‘dominated by reactionaries and neo-fascists’ and then as Mayor he welcomed Islamist cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi to City Hall, and described him as a ‘progressive figure’ - a defender of Palestinian suicide bombing as a ‘martyrdom operation’ and ‘evidence of God’s justice’. In 2005 Livingstone told Jewish journalist Oliver Finegold he was ‘just like a concentration camp guard’.
When you see this, it is utterly staggering that he remains in the Labour party.
Labour have always been quick to stand against bodies or individuals when racism, sexism and homophobia are being allowed to take place, but with anti-Semitism a different story arises. Prejudice against Jews is seen in a completely different light to other forms of bigotry, they are not seen as ‘oppressed’ in the same way, and this is where the underlying flaw lies.
This could have been used as an act of defiance for Jeremy Corbyn to portray the so called ‘zero tolerance’ on anti-Semitism by championing the expulsion of Livingstone. This episode, like the hundreds that proceed it, highlights Jeremy’s ineptness at running the Labour party.
It has served to further alienate yet another group which the Labour party has relied on in elections. Yet again the same question arises: is it finally the end for Corbyn?
The cause many Labour members have dedicated their lives to is being disgraced. The problems now are becoming systematic, the divisiveness, so entrenched that a simple change of leadership will not yield the answers.