Saving Education from the EHRC Report

JVL introduction

The EHRC report into antisemitism has much to say about education and training and makes recommendations for the Labour Party’s future practice in this area.

In the article below the conclusions of the report and their underlying assumptions are critically assessed and found to be deeply flawed.

Its authors are Tony Booth, Professor of Education and Director of the Index for Inclusion Network, Miriam David, Professor Emerita Sociology of Education, University College London, and Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, a Reuters journalist before turning to work in primary education.

They are all members of JVL’s Education Group which has been active over recent years in providing antisemitism education to Labour party and trade union bodies. The arguments presented here draw on the educational philosophy which underpins our work and have benefited from comments made by other members of the group on an earlier draft.

You can find more details about our approach here.

Contributions to this debate are welcome.

Page last updated at 6.20 pm Nov 11


SAVING EDUCATION FROM THE EHRC REPORT

Chapter 9 of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report is entitled: “Training for antisemitism complaint handling”. It sets out the basis for one of the three main negative judgements of the report on the Labour Party’s handling of antisemitism allegations. It concludes that there has been a “failure to provide adequate training to those handling antisemitism complaints” and that this “was unjustified and indirectly discriminated against Jewish Labour Party members.” (p.98.)

In this response to the approach to education in the report, we examine the assumptions behind these conclusions as well as the conclusions themselves.

We agree that appropriate education should precede the involvement of anyone in making judgements about discrimination allegations including antisemitism. We share the view that good quality education about antisemitism and other forms of racism and discrimination should be made widely available to Labour Party members, those involved in other political parties, and the public generally.

We detect, however, a lack of preparation for writing about this task in the authors of the report. This is all the more worrying since the EHRC is expected to have considerable expertise in anti-discrimination education.

The authors fail to distinguish between “training” and “education”, assume that “zero tolerance” is an appropriate policy aim for reducing antisemitism or other forms of discrimination and that those to be involved in antisemitism education select themselves from “Jewish stakeholders” without attention to stringent, carefully considered, criteria.

Perhaps most importantly, they fail to acknowledge the contested nature of definitions of antisemitism. These already required careful examination, but the interpretations have become more fraught in the Labour Party since the response of Keir Starmer to the publication of the report. In addition, the EHRC should have been aware that definitions of antisemitism are routinely misapplied, not least by some of the complainants who prompted their investigation.

Education or Training?

The Report uses the word training in its title, but then employs the phrase “education and training” throughout the report without distinguishing the terms, which implies that they can be used interchangeably. The Oxford English Dictionary defines training as “teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behaviour through regular practice or instruction”. We see education as a more profound process involving discussion and reflection that fosters deep engagement and development in understanding. This is certainly required for antisemitism and other forms of discrimination to be identified and for sensitive and productive interventions to be offered when confronted with antisemitic words, actions or images. Our education efforts are aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding, developing capacities to intervene when discrimination occurs, and at initiating a process that participants build upon, over future months and years.

The EHRC investigators criticise the party for failing to implement Shami Chakrabarti’s 2016 inquiry report. They should therefore have advised the Labour Party to take note of her view that education rather than training is required to reduce racism:

“…it is not my view that narrow anti-racism training programmes are what is required. There is a grave danger that such an approach would seem patronising or otherwise insulting rather than truly empowering and enriching for those taking part.”

Education about antisemitism should develop knowledge and understanding about the various currents in the UK’s Jewish communities, their different religious and cultural customs, the history – both fascinating and tragic – over centuries in Europe and worldwide, about prejudice, persecution and victimisation, antisemitism in its different manifestations, and of course the past century of political strife and ideological turmoil to do with the Holocaust, Israel, Palestine and Zionism. It would involve supporting people in learning to think for themselves about the different ways that antisemitism is described and experienced by people with different views about Jewish identity as well as about Zionism.

We set education about antisemitism, in the context of other forms of discrimination and “othering”, helping people explore the role of colonialism and class oppression in embedding ideas of superiority and entitlement in societies like ours.

Ground rules for productive education. We see education as taking place through informed, respectful, dialogue. We have developed a number of ground rules to help our participants examine and revise their opinions and actions:

  • We treat each other with respect and listen carefully to each other without interruption.
  • We indicate when we want to speak and wait for our turn.
  • We take all contributions seriously however much we may disagree with what is said.
  • We always keep our minds open enough to revise our opinions and learn from others.
  • We treat contributions as confidential to promote freedom of expression and the absence of fear of censure for any mistakes made in the course of discussion.

It is the role of the facilitator to guide participants to analyse the content of their own and other people’s statements and guide them towards anti-racist ways of thinking, talking and acting.

Confidentiality is an important condition for success in any anti-discrimination workshop so that people can explore their own prejudices. The EHRC commissioned a report into anti-racist workshops with young people which emphasises respect for confidentiality in discussing workshop ground rules:

“Everything said in the room stays in the room. When sharing personal anecdotes, make sure you avoid using real names and don’t disclose any personal information about anyone else. Carefully consider what personal information you choose to share.” (p.34)

However, we are aware that other providers of “antisemitism training” do not always adhere to such guidelines. There were multiple breaches of confidentiality at the so-called “antisemitism training” event at the 2016 Labour Party Conference, put on by the Jewish Labour Movement, which led to allegations by JLM, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and others that Jackie Walker had made antisemitic remarks. Such lack of basic knowledge of how anti-discrimination workshops are conducted should invalidate such organisations from involvement in, or advising on them.

Who is to be educated?

There are four groups, which the EHRC authors expect to be the recipients of “training”. First, those involved in assessing complaints; second, those who are found to have engaged in antisemitism, who may have been suspended rather than expelled from the party; third, the wider group of Labour Party staff; and fourth, the wider membership. This leaves those who are expected to carry out the “training” with the task of being sufficiently open to personal change to develop each other and themselves.

The question of “who educates the educators?” is a perennial barrier to transformative change through education. However, while the issue of educating people across the party is referred to in the report, the overarching concern is about “training” those involved in implementing complaints procedures to identify, track down and punish offenders.

When it comes to recommending “training” for those found to have engaged in antisemitism, the report appears to disparage the “training” being offered to them where it might be seen as a way of avoiding a more serious sanction such as longer suspension or expulsion. Here the report’s authors are held back from advocating a more creative role for education by the assumption of the Jewish establishment complainants to the EHRC, and the present leadership of the Labour Party, that a policy of zero tolerance should be pursued.

Zero Tolerance

The report considers “how the Labour Party can demonstrate its commitment to zero tolerance” (p 90) of antisemitism and so assumes that zero tolerance policies are a good idea. It does not explore the rise in advocacy of such policies in recent decades and the critiques of such a macho approach in areas of education, social and criminal justice policy.

The aim of intervention in antisemitism is to reduce it, not to be seen to be taking a tough line to enhance one’s image or to garner votes. To do that would be using responses to antisemitism, and hence Jews, to further other political ends and would be antisemitic itself. Jacqui Smith, Labour Home Secretary under Gorden Brown, made “zero tolerance” a theme of her first conference speech in the role, to signal her toughness on crime and its causes:

“Let me be clear. I’ve zero tolerance of anti-social behaviour, and zero tolerance of its causes. […] I’ve zero tolerance of homes being broken into or bags being snatched to feed a drug habit – and zero tolerance of people not getting drug treatment when they need it.”

This is a kind of “virtue signalling” although the implementation of such policies may turn out to be less than virtuous. In education in England there has been a rise in the last decade of forms of “extreme discipline”. Children have been put in “isolation booths” for minor breaches of school rules, a girl was sent home on her first day of school after the first lockdown for having eyebrows that were too thick, skin tone that was too dark and shoes that were the wrong kind of black. The National Education Union has called “zero tolerance” policies in schools inhumane.

This is not to say for a moment that we should tolerate antisemitism to any degree, but that we develop an approach that is about education and prevention rather than detection and punishment. This is the approach recommended by the Chakrabarti report, which the EHRC appears to approve.

Dealing with definitions

The authors of the EHRC report must be aware that definitions of antisemitism have been fiercely contested. They must have studied the pressures to use the IHRA draft definition of antisemitism and its illustrative examples in disciplinary cases and the various legal opinions attesting to its inadequacy. However, there is no mention of such controversy. Whatever our misgivings, our view is that the Labour Party has adopted the definition and we run our education sessions in ways that are compatible with it. We argue however that it has to be applied correctly. This means that to count as antisemitic any statement, image or action has to express prejudice, hostility or hatred towards Jews as Jews. So voicing a statement which is similar to one in the illustrative examples, for example, “the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavour”, is not to be regarded as antisemitic without separate evidence that it has been used with the intention to, or effect of, discriminating against Jews. This care over context has been made very clear by Kenneth Stern who wrote the IHRA definition and has said: “I drafted the definition, right wing Jews are weaponizing it.” Stern is particularly concerned to avoid using the definition to prevent free speech about Israel to discriminate against Palestinians and their supporters. The organisers of any legitimate education session have to make these distinctions clear and not be swayed by their own biases, for example, by a dislike of statements critical of the state of Israel.

A difficulty arises since some of those regarded as Jewish stakeholders by the report misapply the definition of antisemitism themselves. The most blatant of these perhaps is the Campaign Against Antisemitism, one of the complainants to the EHRC. In direct contradiction to the concern of Kenneth Stern about the rights to free expression of Palestinians and their supporters, they assert on their website:

“those claiming to be only anti-Zionist, not antisemitic are denying Israel’s right to exist, which is considered to be one of the manifestations of antisemitism.”

Anti-Zionism is a manifestation of antisemitism only if there is independent evidence that it is being used to express discrimination against Jews. During the course of an education session about antisemitism, participants must be free to pose questions about any issue including the robustness of definitions of antisemitism used within the Labour Party.

Education about antisemitism has been made more difficult by the addition of examples of the “denial of antisemitism” that Keir Starmer has said are antisemitic. In responding to the EHRC report he said:

“And if – after all the pain, all the grief, and all the evidence in this report, there are still those who think there’s no problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party. That it’s all exaggerated, or a factional attack…you should be nowhere near the Labour Party.”

After the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn, he may have realised that Jeremy had not said it was “all exaggerated” or “all a factional attack” and had reasserted his condemnation of any antisemitism in the party. So Starmer tightened his view of what constituted antisemitism so that any suggestion that it was exaggerated or a factional attack could be counted:

“I made it clear that we won’t tolerate antisemitism or the denial of antisemitism through the suggestion that it is exaggerated or factional and that’s why I was disappointed with Jeremy Corbyn’s response and that is why appropriate action has been taken which I fully support. I want to unite the Labour Party bring our factions together…”

However since Angela Rayner has confirmed that what Jeremy Corbyn said about the exaggeration of antisemitism in the Labour Party was true and has not been suspended, it seems that this addition to the antisemitism definition may be quite selective in its targets. Of course, if someone, Keir Starmer for example, were to use allegations of antisemitism as part of a factional attack then this would be antisemitic. But according to him the very accusation that he had done this would be antisemitic too. One might guess that the Governance and Legal Unit of the Labour Party is about to get a whole lot busier unless we successfully resist this nonsensical turn of events.

There is one respect in which the EHRC report itself displays discriminatory attitudes towards Jews. It regularly refers to the Jewish Community in the singular, as having a single view of antisemitism in the Labour Party. Yet talking as if there is one Jewish community is an antisemitic trope. It sits alongside the stereotyping of other groups such as women, black people, LGBTQ+ people, disabled people, or old people. The EHRC should know better, since it has produced very good materials to support learning about stereotyping. Stereotyping us Jews as if we are one community, speaking with one legitimate voice and holding one set of beliefs plays into the racist stereotyping of Jews as a tribe with tribal loyalty. And it feeds the idea that the opinions and identities of non-establishment Jews can be discarded.

In recommendations to Chapter 9, the report calls on the Labour Party to “develop all education and training programmes on antisemitism in consultation with Jewish stakeholders”. JVL collectively and individually made substantial contributions to the evidence base for the report. This is briefly mentioned in the report and we certainly see ourselves as stakeholders. However, the EHRC shows political and sectarian partiality by repeating without question Keir Starmer’s commitment to giving the Jewish Labour Movement official responsibility for what he refers to as “training”:

“The Labour Party says ‘the right course now is to craft a process which has the confidence of the Jewish community’, and that this builds on the commitment made by Sir Keir Starmer to re-engaging the JLM ‘to lead on training about antisemitism’. (p.94)”

Referring to evidence

It would have been helpful for understanding the educational approach in the report if there were a greater concern with evidence. However, a greater focus on the quantity of antisemitism in the Labour Party might have challenged the basis for the whole investigation. The setting up of an investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party encourages hidden comparative judgements. Saying there is a problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party begs the questions: “is this more of a problem than other forms of discrimination?”; “is this more of a problem in the Labour Party than other parties?”; and “is this more of a problem than it was in the past?” These comparisons are integral to the way language functions with a background of connotation and hidden reference or “intertextuality”. As people observe others talking and writing about antisemitism they make these connections. That is how the constant repetition of the assertion “there is a problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party” leads many to conclude that the answer to all these hidden comparative questions must be in the affirmative. So, the existence of the EHRC report and its findings that the Labour Party was responsible for some aspects of discrimination will be read as supporting this view. It is therefore a highly political document.

Jeremy Corbyn tried to correct this impression in his response to the report but was suspended for asserting that the view of antisemitism in the Party had been grossly inflated. He quoted the Survation survey result that the public perceives that 34% of Labour Party members have been accused of antisemitism whereas the number is 0.3%. So, Keir Starmer is now saying that telling this truth on this issue merits suspension and his denial of reality seems to be welcomed by some in the establishment Jewish communities. As educators, whether we are in JVL or JLM or in the EHRC or elsewhere, we have a duty to convey as accurately as possible the evidence about the incidence of antisemitism and other forms of racism and discrimination within and outside the Labour Party.

So were Jews discriminated against because of the lack of antisemitism education for those handling complaints?

We have argued that providing appropriate education for those involved in allegations of antisemitism is complex and its intricacies have not been fully considered by the EHRC report. There is an assumption that passing this over to Keir Starmer’s preferred Jewish stakeholder would rectify any previous lack. Yet insensitive intervention in discrimination allegations can be, literally, a life and death matter. This was tragically revealed by the suicide of Carl Sargeant in November 2017. He was under investigation following sexual harassment allegations and had requested to know the nature of the charges against him, without response from the Party.

The EHRC report says that since 2017 “high quality, externally provided training in dealing with sexual harassment complaints was given to all Governance and Legal Unit staff and National Executive Committee and National Constitutional Committee members.” As the case of Carl Sargeant reveals, this was either not in place in November 2017 or not acted upon. Good anti-discrimination education should have general implications for the handling of complaints and so either this was not high quality “training” or its suggestions for due process in the case of sexual harassment were wilfully ignored when it came to antisemitism cases. There seems to be little grounds for suggesting that education to support the engagement with antisemitism allegations lagged behind that in other areas, disappointing as this may seem.  In our experience, education about all forms of racism and other forms of discrimination is woeful, if not entirely absent, at all levels of the party. So, there may be less justification than the authors suppose for a main conclusion of the report that the lack of “training” discriminated against Jewish Labour Party members.

Concluding remarks

There is every reason to applaud attempts to correct the lack of good education opportunities to address discrimination within and beyond our political parties. If the EHRC report brings about a flourishing of well-resourced, expertly-run education workshops and courses within the Labour Party, that would surely be welcomed by all sections of the membership. However, there are worrying signs that this is neither what the Commission recommends nor what the current leadership wants. Starmer appears to embrace a pantheon of antisemitism examples inflated by his recent additions concerned with commenting on the extent of antisemitism or the political purposes to which allegations have been put. He seems to embrace the strong man image of a zero tolerance response.  It is hard to see how this fits our view of antisemitism education set in the context of other forms of racism and discrimination, conducted through respectful dialogue.

However, if Keir Starmer wants to find a constructive way to deal with antisemitism he has no need of lengthy investigations by expensive quangos. There is ample wisdom within his own party, notably on the left flank, which he seems determined to exorcise. Here is Laura Pidcock, former MP for Durham East, currently standing as one of the Grassroots Voice candidates for Labour’s National Executive Committee.

“More broadly, we need to decide what kind of culture we want to create within the Labour Party. Do we want, as a party, to prioritise punishment alone when an incident occurs? Or do we want a system and a culture which changes minds, which values collective learning and development in our members?

Punitive approaches alone are no good at changing people’s minds. They can even entrench views. In a sense, that route is too simplistic. The Labour Party I want is one which treats all incidents with the utmost seriousness, but also believes in the potential for change – and takes that approach into wider society.

It is possible to have a complaints system, which is trusted, transparent and respects due process; that delivers justice and changes minds. If we’re going to create a principled party we can all be proud of, we can and must do all these things.”

 

Comments (20)

  • Mr Philip Horowitz says:

    A statement like “Anti-Zionism is a manifestation of antisemitism only if there is independent evidence that it is being used to express discrimination against Jews.” is not clear to me.

    What could count here as an expression of discrimination against Jews? I assume you do not consider that only Jews can be Zionists. If I am right in this, how could any expression of even the most violent hatred against Zionists be so discriminatory? Someone would have to say “I hate and wish to punish all Zionists except the non-Jewish ones” which would be unlikely to happen.

  • rc says:

    It is tempting to score easy points, but one must ask whether referring to other human beings as cockroaches is racist only when used against Jews, or as permissible only when used against Palestinians (CAA ‘definition’).
    More generally, taking a sceptical attitude towards definitions is an essential preliminary to any educational work. The EHRC assumes, rather than specifically endorsing, the IHRA ‘definition’, and it would be poor education indeed to omit critical views that have been taken about it. The EHRC, as I read its report, offers no specific definition of AS as such.

  • RC says:

    Students (if I may call those who attend LP AS, and other, education sessions) will have the right to ask what the basis is of the IHRA ‘definition’ that JVL advocates using in the above account. Good teaching indeed will encourage students to do this – otherwise, they are merely being trained like dogs. The correct answer to this, presumably, is “the LP has adopted it”.
    Students then will be entitled, indeed they should be encouraged, to ask why and on what basis the LP adopted it. Does either the JVL or the LP ‘at large’ (ie, I assume David Evans or KS) have a recommended answer to this – would they, for example, advocate or be happy with an extended account of the pressures put on the LP, the frequent lies told by the advocates of the IHRA ‘definition’ about it being adopted by every country or a majority of countries in the world, being ”THE international definition”, rather than an ad hoc emanation of Dina Porat’s adoption of the original definition rejected by the EUMC and indeed by its originator Kenneth Stern…Somewhere between 7 and 31 countries have ”adopted ” it, but none I believe by proper legislation (three readings, extended debate, calling for witnesses to construct green and then white papers…). Some of these countries have no good standing in this regard: the USA and Israel are plainly partisan, the UK surely also (the ‘arguments’. used by Gavin Williamson to ‘persuade UK universities to adopt it are not exactly of high academic merit – simply ‘adopt it or we’ll reduce your funding’); the Eastern European countries sponsoring it have obviously antisemitic ruling parties…Sweden is the only one that comes to mind as a candidate (no more) for enjoying bona fides…
    Some comrades will be far better qualified than I to produce a serious account of the adoption; and I hope some one in JVL will indeed generate a history raisonne’e along these lines. It would/will be a vital teaching aide.
    So this leaves us with the extensive and searching debate at Conference and the NEC which led to its adoption, including of course the justification for raising the bar on AS from ‘prejudice or discrimination’ to outright ‘hatred’ of Jews. It would certainly be legitimate to argue, and necessary to discuss, the point that this is in itself AS.
    Good luck with teaching on the basis of the IHRA ‘definition’ – or would it merely be training? the phrase ‘dog-whistle’ springs to mind.

  • dave says:

    We need a complaints system that doesn’t throw comrades, and the people they are fighting for, under the bus. Simple really. This takes a different type of education: political education, which we see far too little of these days.

  • Simon Korner says:

    This is an extremely useful commentary – subtle and well-argued. Thanks to the authors for such a thoughtful piece.

  • Dr ALAN MADDISON says:

    All forms of discrimination and abuse are unacceptable, yet we know that the prejudices we develop are often initiated in society and in childhood. They are part of a primitive fear of “the other” , and carry an embedded emotional aspect. They are apparently not easily removed, and their prevention requires significant societal changes.

    Reviews have shown that trying to debunk false stereotypes with rational arguments and evidence does not seem to work very well, some say partly because we fail to touch the emotional component.

    If people endorse false stereotypes to simplify their understanding of a complex world, to make them feel less anxious, or to allocate blame for their hardships, they may be emotionally unwilling to abandon them.

    Some say the best way to reduce prejudices is to get different groups to work together with equal status on common goals, in doing so they will discover the shared feelings, concerns and values in “the other” themselves.

    But we should remember that racial/religious prejudices in society hit black people and Muslims the most and we should not lose sight of this fact when responding to the allegations of antisemitism that have dominated the media narratives.

    The biggest threat to minority groups is when certain political leaders exploit fears and prejudices, as Trump has done. According to two UN reports the Tory Govt has introduced policies that discriminate , including a selective austerity hurting BAME communities the most

    Starmer is facilitating such a distraction from the Tories, and from the growing extreme right, with his misrepresentation of the EHRC findings and by hiding the true relatively small size of the Labour antisemitism problem.

    It is of great concern to see such focus on Labour members, the 1% of the population with probably the lowest prevalence of prejudices, including those relating to antisemitism, and on antisemitism which represents around 1% of victims.

    BAME voters gave Jeremy Corbyn 20% of his total vote, they count on Labour to protect them, their pain should not continue to be deprioritised. At the least, Education and Training, as you rightly say, should include all victim groups.

  • Philip Ward says:

    I think this is an excellent article, but it is intellectually way above the heads of both the EHRC and LP leadership in their current forms. This is a reflection of the general process of “dumbing down” that is a by-product of the fake “antisemitism in the LP” crisis.

    I do have one question though. What is the “Jewish Establishment” and are they really all Zionists?

  • Philip Ward says:

    I want to answer the question asked by Philip Horowitz.

    “Antizionism” can be antisemitic when the terms “Zionist” or “Zionism” are used to promote active discrimination, hostility or prejudice against Jews. Perhaps the most notorious cases are the shows trials: the “Doctors’ Plot” in the USSR in 1953 and the Slansky trial in Czechoslovakia in 1952. In the former, 9 doctors, six of whom were Jewish, were accused of trying to poison various Stalinist leaders. Pravda described them as part of a” Zionist spy organisation”. Fortunately, they were saved from execution by Stalin’s death in March. In the Slansky trial, 14 ex-leaders of the CP – 10 of whom were Jews – were tried for “engaging in Trotskyite-Titoist-Zionist activities in the service of Americam imperialism” and 11 were executed.

  • Simon Dewsbury says:

    The high quality and consistency of your contributions to this situation continues to impress and fortify me.

  • Eileen McKnight-Smith says:

    As an LGBT person I have also faced prejudice. If there were 500 people on the bus when the bus crashed and 4 people were killed, that’s less than 1%. However, if there were 5 gay people on the bus and the 4 people that were killed were all gay, that’s 80%. The report was about ‘Jewish members’ of the Labour Party – not the membership as a whole. From that perspective, proportionally, there were a large number of antisemitism complaints – so maybe the public perceived that there was a large problem with antisemitism against the ‘Jewish membership’ of the Labour Party. The EHRC Report, however, failed to give any proportional analysis of its demographic: a 500-page appendix summarising ALL of the stats would have been a good start. (On a personal note, I thought the report was weak, repetitive and far too emotional for a disinterested study.)

  • Carmen Malaree says:

    A very in-depth analysis of the EHRC report. Totally agree with the distinction between training and education given in this article. It also makes clear that the term antisemitism, as used by K Starmer i.e. identifying one particular group of Jews leaving aside a large portion of the Jewish community in the UK, is a misuse of the term. Many thanks for making this article available to us. I have no much hope in the leadership of the LP to listen to any argument that differs from his position.

  • Derek Clifford says:

    I agree with Simon Korner – thank you for this thoughtful commentary – exactly the kind of intelligent response I’ve come to expect from JVL, and for which I’m very grateful. I’m feeling sad that the situation in the LP is exactly as you describe – it’s hard to maintain an interest in politics when even on the left it sinks so low. The Laura Pidcock quotation is a great ending – so maybe there’s some hope!

  • Erica Burman says:

    A very thoughtful and measured response, thankyou!

  • Stephen Richards says:

    My fathers’ family are gypsy & a case can be made that ‘we’ are the most discriminated against ethnic group in history & still are. Racism is racist & there should be no ‘special cases’, including anti-Semitism. One ethnic group separate & Special?
    Serious questions need to be asked about the composition of the IHRA panel; their independence; whose interests they serve & whether the EHRC is fit for purpose B4 any acceptance of recommendations. Panel members such as Adam Wagner (panel member) who also represents the interests of CAA The membership of law group Pinsent Mason should also be cause for concvern.

  • John Spencer says:

    Under Starmer it is forbidden to claim that the extent of antisemitism in the Labour Party has been exaggerated. This amounts to “antisemitism denial”.
    The CAA and the JLM submitted to the EHRC that Labour is institutionally antisemitic. That was their central claim and the EHRC rejected it. Since the claims were not exaggerated, can we conclude that the EHRC itself suffers from antisemitism denial?

  • Philip Ward says:

    Reply to Eileen McKnight Smith: I don’t agree with your argument or your maths. There are 500,000 members of the LP, all of whom could potentially have been accused of being antisemitic. A few hundred we so accused – many (a majority?) of whom were actually criticising Israel and the complaints were in the main not from individual Jews in the LP about hostility to or prejudice against them as Jews. 200 of the accusations came from one person and many of the accused people Jewish opponents of zionism.

  • Ann Miller says:

    This is the kind of well-argued and carefully researched analysis that we might once have expected to read in the Guardian. How very far public debate has fallen.

  • John says:

    What the EHRC and this article completely fail to recognise is that the ability to perform a role is not down to training, or education, but competency. All modern standards are based on this premise, simply mandating training as the EHRC does without an assessment of individual competency is a flawed legal argument that would fail in court.

  • Richard Kuper says:

    There is a very interesting letter in the Guardian, 13 Nov 2020, headed “Diversity of thought is vital in education”.

    Its standfast says:
    “Dissent, diversity and critique are the lifeblood of any educational experience that nurtures intellectual growth, say 81 academics from the UCL Institute of Education”

    You can read it here

  • Tony Booth says:

    Replying to John Spencer
    This is an interesting point which shows up the farcical moves of the Labour Leadership. By not finding the Labour Party institutionally antisemitic the EHRC were saying that allegations were exaggerated and hence the report, according to the ILLP (Incumbent Leadership of the Labour Party) definition of antisemitism, which will presumably replace the IHRA definition very shortly, the EHRC report is riddled with it.

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