Jonathan Cook dissects the investigation by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission into the U.K. Labour Party.
by Jonathan Cook
Part 7 - Raw Emotions
The first was posted on Facebook, though strangely the commission appears not to know when:
Had Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party pulled up the drawbridge and nipped the bogus AS [anti-Semitism] accusations in the bud in the first place we would not be where we are now and the fifth column in the LP [Labour Party] would not have managed to get such a foothold … the Lobby has miscalculated … The witch hunt has created brand new fightback networks … The Lobby will then melt back into its own cesspit.
The strong language doubtless reflects the raw emotions the anti-Semitism claims against Corbyn’s supporters provoked. Many members understood only too well that the Labour Party was riven by a civil war and that their socialist project was at stake. But where exactly is the anti-Semitism in Bromley’s tirade?
In the report, the commission says it considered the reference to a “fifth column” as code for Jews. But why? The equalities commission appears to have placed the worst possible interpretation on an ambiguous comment and then advanced it as an “anti-Semitic trope” – apparently a catch-all that needed no clarification.
But given what we now know — at least since the leaking of the internal Labour report in the spring — it seems far more likely Bromley, in referring to a “fifth column,” was talking about the party bureaucracy hostile to Corbyn. Most of those officials were not Jewish, but exploited the anti-Semitism claims because those claims were politically helpful.
Interpreted that way — and such an interpretation fits the facts presented in the leaked internal report — Bromley’s comment is better viewed as impolite, even hurtful, but probably not anti-Semitic.
Joan Ryan, an MP who was then head of Labour Friends of Israel — part of the lobby Bromley is presumably referring to — was not Jewish. But she was clearly very much part of the campaign to oust Corbyn using anti-Semitism as a stick to beat him and his supporters with, as an Al-Jazeera undercover documentary exposed in early 2017.
Ryan, we should remember, was instrumental in falsely accusing a Labour Party member of an “anti-Semitic trope” – a deeply unfair characterisation of their exchange that was only exposed because it was secretly caught on film.