Labour Party report into anti-Semitism '˜feels like its written for children', says Wealden MP

Wealden's MP told Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn that a report on anti-Semitism in his party '˜feels like it has been written for children'.

Nus Ghani, Wealden MP, at the  Home Affairs Select Committee meeting discussing anti-Semitism (photo from SUS-160707-162227001
Nus Ghani, Wealden MP, at the Home Affairs Select Committee meeting discussing anti-Semitism (photo from SUS-160707-162227001

After former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and other members were suspended following allegations of anti-Semitic comments, the Labour Party commissioned an inquiry into the issue by human rights barrister Shami Chakrabarti.

Her report was published at the end of June and was followed by Mr Corbyn appearing before the House of Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee on Monday (July 4) as part of an inquiry into the rise of anti-Semitism.

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Nus Ghani, Wealden MP, asked why the Labour Party needed a report telling its members not to use Hitler, Nazim, or Holocaust metaphors, distortions or comparisons, particularly in debates about Israel and Palestine.

She said: “It feels like a report that would have been written for children to understand what is anti-Semitism and racism.

“Did you really need a report to tell you that these words were offensive and did you really need a report to tell you that comparisons to Hitler, Nazis and the Holocaust to Jewish people was inappropriate?”

Mr Corbyn replied: “Of course those words are deeply offensive and I’m sure everyone knows in this room those words are deeply offensive.

“I just wanted and I’m pleased the report makes it absolutely clear we would not accept the use of the words paki or zio, and we would not accept the idea of equivalence and Hitler comparisons and other issues like that.

“It’s there as a recommendation which I hope will be accepted by our party.”

Ms Ghani asked why the recommendation was that Labour Party members should ‘resist’ using such words rather than the words had ‘no place in the party’.

She asked: “Will they have their wrists slapped or what?”

Mr Corbyn replied: “It says we should not use them.”

Ms Ghani added: “You needed a report over many weeks to come to these conclusions?”

Mr Corbyn said: “We are the only party to have the courage to have a report in our own party.”

Ms Ghani asked why alleged anti-Semitism had been described in the report as ‘unhappy incidents’.

Mr Corbyn replied: “It’s extremely serious and the words chosen are ‘unhappy’. I think the important point in the report are the recommendations that come from it.”

He added: “I think having the report is a bold step which we should be commended for.”

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