Skwawkbox Exclusive – up to 90% of antisemitism evidence unfit “in some cases”

JVL Introduction

This Skwawkbox report reveals what many are aware of – that many accusations of antisemitism are paper-thin, and bear no relationship to the antisemitism we know and abhor: prejudice, hostility or hatred towards Jews as Jews, a form of racism.

In the past a few high profile cases obsessed the media. We had hoped that the era of generalised cases of suspension on highly dubious grounds, originating in the McNichol era, was behind us.

Alas, in the gadarene rush to show the EHRC that “something is being done”, a new wave of injustice seems to be upon us…

This article was originally published by Skwawkbox on Sat 15 Feb 2020. Read the original here.

Excl: NCC forced to reject up to 90% of antisemitism evidence as unfit – multiple deaths follow expulsions

NCC source says huge amount of evidence passed on by NEC investigators has no substance – but NEC ‘fast-tracking’ expulsions regardless, leading to concerns over post-expulsion deaths and suicide attempts

A Manchester woman has died within days of her expulsion from the Labour Party under a new disciplinary system.

The woman, whose identity has been confirmed to the SKWAWKBOX, is understood to have died on Tuesday as a result of a brain haemorrhage that locals are linking to stress brought on by her summary expulsion under a new ‘fast track’ process in which the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) is expelling members against whom antisemitism complaints have been made.

She was reportedly unaware that she might be expelled under the new process until after the fact – and was expecting further discussions with investigators after denying that many of the social media posts presented as evidence had been made by her.

Previously, the party’s quasi-judicial National Constitutional Committee (NCC) was the only body with power to expel – and would do so after assessing material passed onto it by NEC investigators, in most cases after a hearing at which the accused would have the opportunity to defend him- or herself.

However, to placate those accusing the party of taking too long to decide cases, the NEC has recently begun expelling members – who then could try to appeal their case to the NCC.

90% rejection rate

Keir Starmer has promised to go further if he is elected as Labour leader, with a pledge to abolish the NCC altogether. However, those involved with the process have been appalled at moves to eliminate or reduce the rigour with which complaints are assessed under its process, which is driven by legal advice from independent lawyers.

Speaking before the death of the Manchester woman reported above, one source told the SKWAWKBOX that the rates at which supposed ‘evidence’ is rejected is sky-high:

NEC investigators pass us evidence to assess, but much of it is so flimsy or irrelevant that when we’ve talked to our legal advisors we have no choice but to reject it as unfit – as much as 90% of it in some cases.

The thought that cases are being decided on the basis of things that simply don’t stand up to scrutiny is frankly terrifying. The whole point of creating the NCC in the first place was to prevent the same people acting as prosecution and jury – and to protect the party from the legal consequences of unsound judgments.

Nobody who wants justice to actually be done should be welcoming the proper process being diluted or bypassed, let alone eliminated. The NCC bases its operations on the recommendations of the Chakrabarti Inquiry. Our opponents accusations of us being soft and “letting people off” rather than expelling them, but in reality its just doing the job properly and fairly.

And our achievements keep the party out of court.

Multiple deaths and attempted suicides

Even more worryingly – but entirely predictably – the Manchester death above is far from the only death after expulsion that the party is having to look into.

The SKWAWKBOX understands from a separate source that as many as three people have died recently following expulsion – and that there have been at least as many attempted suicides.

The source told the SKWAWKBOX:

A lot of these people are older members, many not understanding properly how social media works and without the political education to understand how to express their objections to the behaviour of Israel in a more sensitive way.

For a lot of those people, they’ve spent years as members or within the movement and their whole social networks and sense of community are based on their party activism.

But when you’re suddenly cut off from those networks, the blow to their physical and mental health can be huge. And when the ‘evidence’ leading to suspensions and expulsions is often so weak, the sense of injustice on top of everything else puts people in real danger. It’s got to change.

One example of such insubstantial and irrelevant ‘evidence’ was seen just in the last couple of days. Birkenhead councillor and NEC candidate Jo Bird was suspended from the party – and the NEC by-election contest – after a complaint was lodged against her during the nominations phase.

The precise nature of the complaint was not made public by the party, but when an NEC disciplinary panel met yesterday to discuss the case, it was immediately dismissed and Bird was reinstated.

It was not the first time Bird had been suspended and reinstated. She was briefly suspended in spring 2019 after being recorded condemning the expulsion of a black Jewish activist and adapting a poem on the topic of solidarity, but her membership was quickly restored.

An unfair attack’

NCC chair Anna Dyer recently circulated a statement to NCC members calling on Starmer to withdraw his plan and recognise the work that the committee does – and the inadequacy of much of the material passed to it by investigators:

As a result of Sir Keir Starmer’s announcement of his intention to “Scrap the NCC and create an independent body to deal with complaints “ we are appalled at the accusations in the press already of the NCC failing to properly investigate accusations of anti-Semitism. This is completely untrue. The NCC does not investigate complaints. That is not our job.

Investigations are in fact carried out by employees of the Legal and Governance unit of the Labour Party . The NCC is entirely composed of Labour Party members from a whole range of different professions and experience including solicitors and they also have an independent lawyer to advise them.

Its sole purpose as an independent body within the Labour Party Structure is to hear Disciplinary Cases. We have been unfairly attacked on the grounds that the proportion of expulsions from our cases is not high enough.

We have reported to the Party when the evidence provided has fallen short of acceptable standards. Since we are a judicial body our decisions are based on the evidence provided by both the complainant and the defendant and the panel will decide on the evidence put before them. If it does not stand up to proof then the appropriate verdict will be given. We have robust procedures for the conduct of cases which are available in the Labour Party rulebook.

We are concerned that Sir Keir Starmer was unaware of the true situation and we hope he will recognise that. The volunteer members of the NCC deserve a true account of how they carry out their work. We are elected by the Party members and therefore are accountable to them. An appointed independent body as he suggests would have no accountability to the members who would have no reason to trust them.

It is also important that Party members are aware that the EHRC has been investigating antisemitism in the party since May 2019 and has not accepted our offer to be interviewed by them. This seems strange considering every single one of us is keen to see this problem settled once and for all.

The letter refers to attacks on the work of the NCC in the Murdoch press in the run-up to December’s general election.

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Comments (7)

  • Allan Howard says:

    The following Daily Mail article was published on Jan 8th with the following headline: ‘Five Labour members could face CRIMINAL charges for anti-Semitism……’, and in the article it says the following:

    Euan Philipps, spokesman for Labour Against Anti-Semitism, said: ‘The Met’s referral of these cases to the CPS underlines the degree of criminality that anti-Jewish racism in the Labour Party has reached.

    ‘Over the past three years we have reported hundreds of similar cases of anti-Jewish racism in the Labour Party, which we believe also constitute hate crimes. They too must now lead to prosecutions.’

    It’s more than a little interesting to note that LAA doesn’t specify who they have reported these ‘hundreds of similar cases’ to, but given the substance of the article, they imply of course that they have reported these ‘hundreds of similar cases’ to the police, and have done so during a period of three years AND imply that none of them have been dealt with as of yet, the point being that if that is really the case, then why hasn’t it ALREADY led to any prosecutions?!

    BUT, in a comment on Amazon, Jonathan Hoffman said the following (four months ago as of me writing this):

    ‘The estimable organisation Labour Against Antisemitism (I am an adviser) said in February 2019 that it had reported 1200 cases since 2016, so almost double Formby’s number.’

    So according to Hoffman (I assume most people who subscribe to JVL will be familiar with him), LAA – who he is an advisor to – said in February 2019 that it had reported 1200 cases since 2016, and given what he THEN says, he is OBVIOUSLY saying that the LAA reported the 1200 cases to the Labour Party. And as you will see further on in the Comments, ‘domestic extremist’ asks Hoffman if the LAA reported the 1200 cases to the police AND – receiving no reply from Hoffman – does so AGAIN a few weeks later, and yet again receives no answer, and THAT was now three months ago, and I think we can safely assume that LAA did NOT submit the cases to the police.

    And it’s precisely because they DIDN’T that they don’t specify who they reported the ‘hundreds of similar cases’ TO in the DM article, but of course lead the reader to think they are saying that they reported them to the police. And it isn’t the case that Hoffman didn’t see domestic extremist’s posts, as he responds to other comments made afterwards.

    Needless to say, if you were REALLY concerned about A/S, you wouldn’t have only reported the cases to the LP, but would of course have reported them to the police as well. But they didn’t, and that tells us ALL we need to know.

    NB If you want to check out Hoffman’s comment etc, go to the page re the book Bad News For Labour (on amazon), then scroll down the page, and just directly underneath the last of the listed reviews it says ‘See all reviews from the United Kingdom’, click on that, then scroll to the end of the first review listed (directly under ‘Top positive review’ and ‘Top critical review’) by Deborah H. Maccoby, scroll down to the end of her review (which is excellent!), and next to the ‘Helpful’ button toy will see Comments, highlighted in blue (and 17 at the time of writing), select the ‘Oldest’ option (on the right) and Hoffman’s comment is the sixth one down.

    PS And HERE’s confirmation that LAA submitted them to the LP – and ALL at the same time!! – in February of last year, 4,000 examples in fact, which ‘are likely to relate to around 1,000 separate people, thought to be Labour members or people who comment on Labour Facebook groups.’

    Needless to say, it’s more-than-likely all pure fiction anyway! And if that’s the case, the LP/NEC should say so, and notify skwawkbox and/or JVL of the facts.

  • Doug says:

    So where on earth are our leadership candidates
    Promising to settle and reinstate staff behind Panorama Drama
    Signing up to BoD10, selling JC down the road, failing to defend party, members and supporters proud record of fighting racism
    Has anyone managed to raise any of the above at the Hustings

  • James Hall says:

    Strange choice of words: “NCC forced to reject up to 90% of antisemitism evidence as unfit” and “NEC investigators pass us evidence to assess, but much of it is so flimsy or irrelevant that when we’ve talked to our legal advisors we have no choice but to reject it as unfit – as much as 90% of it in some cases.”

    “Forced’, ‘no choice’ – seems to suggest that the NCC would actually have liked to accept those cases as antisemitic but were not allowed to. Surely any body acting in a quasi-judicial role should not need to be ‘forced’ or be left with ‘no choice but to’ when it comes to rejecting irrelevant, flimsy or misleading evidence.

  • This is very scary stuff. Well done members of the NCC for speaking up.

  • Ann Lewis says:

    I am not surprised by the statement that ” up to 90% of of antisemitism evidence is unfit”.This really hit home in the case of Chris Williamson.I feel that by these standards I would certainly be judged to be antisemitic.
    I am now considering referring myself to the non compliance unit. The thing holding me back is that I am not Jewish. Would I be impugning the representativeness of JVL?

  • Dave Clinch says:

    I am not a member of the Labour Party, but support the socialist programme in the 2017 and 2019 manifestos.

    I wrote this on my Facebook page today, for which if not relevant I apologise.

    I sympathise with the response to the tragic death of Caroline Flack. There are several issues raised here about basic humanity, not least that of bullying. I wonder then why there has been no discussion about the effects of the media attacks from the press (not merely the sewer variety) false allegations eg about antisemitism and ultimately the traducing of the character of Jeremy Corbyn since his election, twice, by the Labour Party membership.

    I have posted here before with concern about the effects of this outright bullying on his mental well-being and that of others such as Diane Abbott who has been mercilessly trolled and ridiculed for years.

    The tears for Caroline Flack might well be genuine in many quarters. I think, however, those who are shedding them now across the media examine their actions concerning those who don’t happen to be popular tv celebrities and who have suffered grievously at their bullying hands.
    Those such as mentioned above are subjected to media and online bullying and do not warrant the outpouring of sadness that has been evident, eg across the BBC this weekend.

    Presumably it demands the taking of your own life to fulfil that response and the inevitable messages of regret about lack of kindness to each other.

    In will add that I am a retired schoolteacher and former NUT (now NEU) representative at school and divisional level. I once heard a Holocaust survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Belsen, Esther Brunstein, addressing annual conference of the then NUT in the mid 1990s, quote the Nobel Literature Laureate Eli Wiesel, himself a survivor of The Holocaust. “We have to teach our children to be human.” Education means nothing otherwise.

    I think this also applies to Labour Party bureaucrats who either by the failings of bureaucracy leading to complete ineptitude or by their merciless regard for those being accused of antisemitism, mostly on the flimsiest pretexts, have condemned decent Labour activists to being forced to defend themselves against false allegations (I can think of few things worse) often over an extended period of suspension.

    Does humanity play any part in the minds of these bullies, who I believe can rightfully be called witch hunters who are attempting to cleanse the Labour Party of criticism of the zionist and apartheid state of Israel.

    What further both saddens and frightens me is the willingness of the current leadership candidates to unreservedly embrace the flawed IHRA definition of antisemitism and thus to effectively outlaw support for Palestine against its occupation by Israel.

  • Lee white says:

    Laura Murray:
    “It’s also not remotely true that 90% of antisemitism evidence passed to the NCC is “unfit”.

    Whoever briefed this article either has no clue what they’re talking about or an axe to grind (possibly both)”

Comments are now closed.