29th October, 2020

The report of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party has now been published, and for many it will make for difficult reading. It concludes that the Labour Party complaints process for antisemitism is inadequate, and expresses concern that the current process does not ensure fair and transparent sanctioning of antisemitism complaints. It also finds unlawful acts to have been committed by former Labour Party agents.

As Momentum and Labour Party members, anti-racism is at the core of our politics, and we firmly believe antisemitism has no place whatsoever in society and must be challenged. So this report is a reminder that whatever the values and history of the Labour Party, it can and must do better. Labour, which has grown to over half a million members, does not exist in a vacuum and is not immune from wider prejudices in society. We stand in solidarity with those affected by antisemitism or let down by the Labour Party’s handling of complaints.

As the EHRC report notes, from 2016 improvements were made to the complaints process, which was beset by delays. This progress is an important legacy of the last few years and it should be built upon, but more must be done and further changes must be made.

As a movement, our work combatting antisemitism must also be rooted in political education that strengthens understanding of racism in all its forms, and how racisms can function in different ways in different contexts. As socialists, we have a responsibility to help people understand the true causes of oppression – challenging conspiracism, antisemitism and all forms of racism, and standing in solidarity with marginalised communities everywhere, in the UK and globally.

We must also make sure that over the coming weeks, this important report is not mis-used factionally. The overwhelming majority of socialists in the Labour Party are motivated by the prospect of a better world, and many have spent their lives fighting against antisemitism and racism in their communities and on the streets. This hope, commitment and experience should not be diminished because of the actions of a tiny and unrepresentative minority of Party members, or failures of Labour Party process. We must challenge those who would use the issue of antisemitism as a factional weapon. Jewish communities and our Jewish comrades deserve better.

We must be steadfast in our commitment to the truth, and we must be prepared to fight antisemitism wherever it rears its ugly head, especially if it does in our own party.