No Place for Antisemitism: Disciplinary Processes

JVL Introduction

The Labour Party has recently published a report on antisemitism showing how it has “continued to take decisive action to root it out”.

The number of suspensions and expulsion for antisemitism in 2019 increased markedly over those in 2018. But, apart from the vaguest generalisation about “antisemitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories” we know virtually nothing about what members were suspended or expelled for i.e. what the Party is in practice deeming to be antisemitic.

We have serious concerns about the disciplinary procedures currently in place and will return to this topic in future postings.

This article was originally published by the Labour Party on Tue 28 Jan 2020. Read the original here.

No Place for Antisemitism: Disciplinary Processes

Antisemitism has no place in our Party and we have continued to take decisive action to root it out. A small minority of Labour members hold antisemitic views and a larger number don’t always recognise antisemitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories for what they are.

Labour is the only political party which publishes statistics on disciplinary cases and we are committed to transparency. In 2019, I twice published statistics on antisemitism cases, and I will be publishing updates on a regular basis on this page going forward. The report below shows the statistics for both 2018 and 2019, broken down by quarters. Future publications will be in the same format so that the Party’s progress can be easily monitored.

The vast majority of complaints relate to social media activity, often social media posts from several years ago. A third of all cases in 2019 have the same single individual as the main complainant.

The Party does not have the same detailed breakdowns of figures for the period before 2018 as a comprehensive central complaints system was not in use until 2018, but the data we do have for this preceding period is included in the report. The report demonstrates the length of time taken under the previous procedures for a case to be concluded or for an individual to be expelled, and the significant impact of the reforms we have introduced since 2018  in strengthening and speeding up those procedures, resulting in more investigations, suspensions and expulsions.

We have made great progress but we are continuing to review our procedures to ensure they are as robust and efficient as possible, and our next publication of statistics will demonstrate our continued progress.

Jennie Formby
Labour Party General Secretary
28 January 2020


There is a statistical appendix to the report, downloadable here.

We reproduce the first page of this appendix below (click on the image to enlarge it):

 

Comments (18)

  • RH says:

    JVL has lighted on the massive flaw behind all the rhetoric, namely that :

    “we know virtually nothing about what members were suspended or expelled for i.e. what the Party is in practice deeming to be antisemitic.”

    It is extremely concerning that where we do know more – i.e. in the high-profile cases – the accusations show a marked lack of what is actually ‘antisemitism’, and thus a frequent resort to the charge of ‘Bringing the Party into disrepute’ as a recourse for ‘getting’ members.

    The whole thrust of Jennie Formby’s approach seems to be mainly aimed at placating the vocal right wing/Israel lobby rather than getting the system visibly just and rational.

  • Gerry Glyde says:

    We members should also be told the identity of the person responsible for the majority of the complaints and a selection of the alleged wrong doings mentioned by RH so we the members can get a more accurate view of the extent of the problem. The disclosure will also indicate the political motivation of them and the extent to which trawling back many years creates yet another illusion of a problem.
    Enough is Enough

  • DAVID ROGER says:

    Very shocked by this self congratulatory trumpeting of “ many more expelled “ with our “new fast track no right of appeal system .” . no wonder they can expel as many as they want when they allow no defence or right if reply ti unevidenced allegations allowed . We all know people expelled who havent an ounce of anti Semitism in them but are Palestinian activists .
    Worried too about this “ single complainant “ behind a third of all accusations in 2019 This surely speaks for itself

  • Diane Miles says:

    I believe we need a transparent system so that the accused will know exactly what they are being accused of – so that justice will be seen to be done when the verdict is reached. I still don’t know, for instance, what Chris Williamson was accused of – though I think I saw the video which was used in evidence against him.

  • Pam Bromley says:

    I’ve been expelled after being suspended for the second time; I refused to cooperate with the new set of ridiculous accusations which were being made against me, mostly concerning criticism of Israel. Happy to share my social media ‘crimes’.

  • Philip Ward says:

    RLB spoke a bit about the issue in her interview on Novara Media. Still doesn’t understand what is going on:

    https://youtu.be/1s8eJDaOgV0 at 35 minutes, for about 1 minute. Interesting that posters to Novara seem to be unhappy about the BoD’s Ten Commandments even if RLB isn’t.

  • Philip Ward says:

    Interesting comments here. Not only do we not know who is making accusations, the accused are usually not allowed to know either. Also, in many cases the nature of the charges changes over time. Concerning Chris Williamson, it’s interesting that all that was ever released from the video of his speech was about 10 seconds of stuff. Even though it is pretty clear that he was saying the LP shouldn’t apologise for what it hasn’t done, I expect that more from that video would have made it even more obvious. The failure of the NCC to look into these issues thoroughly is reminiscent of Salem, or at least Arthur Miller’s interpretation of it.

  • Abe Hayeem says:

    The whole idea of this campaign is to continue hounding Labour, even with Corbyn not leader after the new selection. This one person complainer must be revealed, and his/her associations exposed. We cannot have anonymous complainants. Even without further information, it speaks for itself as an orchestrated campaign to keep Labour occupied and always under surveillance, to ensure a continuing purge of the most active and dedicated socialists and ant-racists, who willy nilly will come under accusations using the IHRA if they are pro-Palestinian activists.
    This is real threat to democracy and free speech and must be revealed.
    This assault must be investigated by the EHRC, as an unequal assault on one political party, by a dedicated pro-Israel lobby, though the EHRC itself has prominent members of its panel as high profile Tories -so what balance or truly objective judgements can we expect?

  • Allan Howard says:

    It is of course interesting to learn that a third of all cases have been made by the same complainant (I assume she’s referring to a group as opposed to an individual), but what about the OTHER two-thirds of cases? And how many ‘complaints’ were their all told.

    Ah, I just checked out the link above, and there were 255 cases in which No Action was taken, and assuming I understood the stats correctly, then approximately 25% of complaints – ie 1 in 4 – warranted no action (in 2018 it was almost a third).

    The point I was driving at above is, are the majority of complaints being made by a small number of so-called ‘complainants’, as I have little doubt they ARE and, if so, what percentage of complaints were each of these main complainants making.

    And given the number of alleged complaints of A/S in the Labour Party made by various groups and individuals, as reported in the MSM, amounts to tens of thousands (I’ve linked to a couple of examples below), it does seem rather odd – to say the LEAST – that the vast majority of the complaints are not submitted to the LP as such. I wonder why not, and what the explanation could possibly be? And given all the numerous allegations of bullying by various individuals, it would be good if Jennie Formby could also publish stats in relation to that as well.

    The following article is from May last year:

    Campaign Group Submits Report with 15,000 Cases of Anti-Semitism, Urges Equalities Watchdog to Investigate Labour

    http://www.thetower.org/7326-campaign-group-submits-report-with-15000-cases-of-anti-semitism-urges-equalities-watchdog-to-investigate-labour/

    And the following article is from October 2018 (and here’s a clip from it):

    The group [Labour Against Anti-Semitism] has flagged 1,200 alleged members who it said have breached the party’s guidelines against hate speech and has a backlog of about 2,000 additional cases of people engaging in what LAAS considers anti-Semitic rhetoric.

    https://jewishchronicle.timesofisrael.com/these-non-jews-are-fighting-labour-anti-semitism-from-the-inside/

  • Allan Howard says:

    Jennie also says that: ‘The vast majority of complaints relate to social media activity, often social media posts from several years ago.’

    It would be interesting to know how many are from what year, and how many are from before Jeremy became leader.

  • Allan Howard says:

    Afterthought. Apologies, but something else just occurred to me: As I’m sure most people will be aware, Margaret Hodge submitted 200 alleged cases of anti-semitism to the LP (as widely reported by the MSM) which, as it transpired, pertained to 111 people, only TWENTY of whom were LP members. And my point is of course that Jennie should ALSO publish the number of such cases/allegations submitted to the LP each year that pertain to non-LP members, because if Hodge’s ‘submission’ is anything to go by, it could very well amount to thousands every year. The following are a couple of excerpts from a Guardian article published in February 2019:

    Margaret Hodge was among the MPs who questioned the statistics after the meeting, saying she alone had submitted more than 200 examples of “vile antisemitism” where she believed the evidence showed they had connections with Labour. “There has been a breakdown in trust,” the veteran MP said.

    Releasing the disciplinary data for the first time, the party’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, said 96 members had been suspended and 211 had been issued with a notice of investigation. Another 146 had been given a preliminary warning and 220 cases did not have sufficient evidence to proceed.

    The data also indicates a large number of complaints – more than 400 in total – about non-Labour members.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/11/labour-has-looked-into-673-cases-of-alleged-antisemitism-figures-show

    NB And there is not only a very big disconnect between the number of allegations of A/S made by groups and individuals and the number reported to the LP, but given that I am only aware of ONE LP member ever being found guilty of anti-semitism/racism, there is a MASSIVE disconnect between the number of allegations being made by these groups and individuals AND the number being reported to the police.

  • Gerry Glyde says:

    Pam, I understand your frustration but if you walk away, those people behind the complaint and the administrators have won.

    It Would be useful for you to post some of the allegations and how the party expected you to respond

  • Kornbrot says:

    So why are expelled members not named and shamed?
    Why is EVIDENCE on decision is made NOT public – to all not just Labour members. This is known as TRANSAPRENCY, apparently an alien concept to the NEC and others round Corbyn who lost us the election and so defeated all the good policies Labour supports
    How many of thos expelled for anti-semitism are in fact Jews by birth and/or by membership.

    This pathetic report illustrates just how weak Labour disiciplinary procedures. Without disciplinary overhaul we will be losing elections into the 22nd century

  • Frances Rifkin says:

    Are “we” still conflating Zionism and Judaism? I ask this as a jew and member.

  • RH says:

    On the issue of “conflating Zionism and Judaism” : I wonder if those IHRA enthusiasts recognize the conundrum of excluding a large number of Jews from Judaism?

  • Allan Howard says:

    Re stats about bullying complaints/allegations (which I mentioned above), I was of course thinking in terms of stats for the past four years – ie 2016 to 2019. Needless to say, I have little doubt there willl be a very big disconnect between the amount of claims made by various individuals in the media, and the number of cases reported to the LP!

  • Dorothy Macedo says:

    It is vital that the party’s rules conform to natural justice. The article shows that currently that is not the case which is shameful.

  • Peter Jenner says:

    “In 2019, 149 members were removed from the party as a result of disciplinary processes relating to antisemitism, either being expelled or quitting the party as proceedings progressed.”

    This is a bit misleading if one looks at the actual statistics.

    Of the 149, 11 were actually removed by auto-exclusion (having supported a party or candidate standing against the Labour Party) or were removed by the Gen Sec within 8 weeks of joining the party (reasons unspecified). So, nothing to do with antisemitism there (in a report on antisemitism).

    That leaves 138 members who left the Party ‘as a result of disciplinary processes relating to antisemitism’. 18 allowed their membership to lapse and 75 resigned, while disciplinary processes were underway. This implies nothing about guilt and may be simply a natural response to the Kafka-like disciplinary process itself. They were not ‘removed from the party’. They removed themselves.

    So, 45 were expelled ‘as a result of disciplinary processes relating to antisemitism’. Not specifically for antisemitism, then. Perhaps, rather, for ‘bringing the Party into disrepute’.

    This is not to say that they were not guilty of antisemitism. This formulation does not tell us, so we just don’t know.

Comments are now closed.