BBC says Corbyn’s office interfered in antisemitism cases

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his senior advisers interfered in antisemitism complaints despite claiming the process was independent, according to a BBC documentary broadcast last night.

The documentary, “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?” included interviews former Labour Party officials from the Complaints and Disputes Department. Four of them broke a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to tell the BBC that antisemitism has risen in the party, that the leader’s office was “angry and obstructive” on the issue, that the party’s general secretary “overruled” and downgraded their disciplinary decisions, and that Corbyn’s office ordered batches of antisemitism complaints to be brought to his Commons office for processing by his aides.

Mike Creighton, former Head of the Labour Party Disputes Team, told Seumas Milne that to deal with antisemitism the party should process top level cases more swiftly and robustly and that Corbyn should give a speech affirming Israel’s right to exist. Creighton said Milne’s response was to laugh. The Labour Party dispute the account as “false and malicious,” adding: “Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly expressed his support for Israel’s right to exist and for a two-state solution … so there is no reason whatsoever to laugh at any such suggestion.”

Refuting claims that criticising Israel or campaigning for the Palestinians is somehow being misinterpreted as antisemitism, Professor Alan Johnson, Editor of BICOM’s Fathom Journal, said on the programme: “It’s completely possible to criticise Israel within the Labour Party and not come near an antisemitism charge. You can say the occupation is wrong, you can say the settlements are wrong, you can say that the treatment of the Arab minority is discriminatory, but if you say that Israel is an inherently racist endeavour that should therefore be abolished, that is something different.”

Professor Johnson published a report in Fathom Journal in March 2019 called “Institutionally Antisemitic: Contemporary Left Antisemitism and the Crisis in the British Labour Party”.

The Labour Party described the BBC Panorama programme as: “Seriously inaccurate, politically one-sided polemic, which breached basic journalistic standards, invented quotes and edited emails to change their meaning.”