What are some examples of antisemitism in the Labour Party?



The Labour Party of the United Kingdom has recently come under fire for its new code of conduct, with people accusing them of not acting against antisemitism in the party, but quickly against those who criticise the code of conduct.

I find it unlikely that such a large political party could have a problem as prevalent as the media suggests, but I’d like evidence of that so, what are some examples of antisemitism in the Labour Party, if any?


Posted 2018-07-30T10:04:30.230

Reputation: 1 302

2"I find it unlikely that such a large political party could have a problem as prevalent as the media suggests" - what research, if any, have you done before reaching such a conclusion? – Andrew Grimm – 2018-08-02T04:42:27.580

Did you even try browsing the [tag:labour-party] tag and see the examples of antisemitism listed in the question https://politics.stackexchange.com/questions/30043/has-the-labour-party-always-had-this-level-of-problems-with-anti-semitism ?

– Andrew Grimm – 2018-08-02T04:49:15.143

2@AndrewGrimm as you can see from my quote, I’ve read a number of news sites, notably BBC, The Guardian and occasionally headlines of the Daily Mail. I was unconvinced they were accurately reporting the issue, hence my question. And yes, I did a search for the words “antisemitism” and “Labour Party”. I didn’t see that question, likely because they used the word “anti-semitism”. I do not know how to search within a tag on the iOS mobile app, perhaps that didn’t help. Had I found the Q&A, I would have still asked this question because the answer does not answer my question. – Tim – 2018-08-02T09:21:02.510

2I can see there's 2 close votes that this is not asked in good faith. If you could suggest how this could be improved, that would be great - although I find it a little absurd that any question which criticises a political party can be shut down as "bad faith" - whether or not it is bad faith, simply to try to prevent the conversation. That might not be the case here, but it certainly seems like it. – Tim – 2018-08-02T12:33:12.040

I am one of the close voters. I commented prior to closevoting. – Andrew Grimm – 2018-08-02T21:13:45.937

How come my question doesn’t count as listing examples of antisemitism? – Andrew Grimm – 2018-08-02T21:15:26.950

@AndrewGrimm because that’s not what you’re asking, and that’s not what the answers provide? And I’m confused - your comments don’t suggest this question was asked in bad faith, you seem to think it’s either not researched enough or a duplicate. – Tim – 2018-08-02T21:17:52.400

the answers don’t list examples, but the question does. – Andrew Grimm – 2018-08-02T21:26:13.033



The Wikipedia article on Anisemitism in Labour has a good overview (the following list is not complete):

  • Corbyn was the chair of an organization that participated in the antisemitic Quds Day.
  • Corbyn has called the antisemitic terrorist organization Hamas "friends" (which he now regrets).
  • Corbyn was a member of multiple antisemitic facebook groups (according to him, he didn't know about this).
  • Corbyn defended an antisemitic mural (he says this was a mistake).
  • The vice-chair of Momentum claimed that Jews were the financiers of the slave trade and was only briefly suspended. She also questioned if there are workable antisemitism definitions and why Jewish schools need security.
  • Naz Shah approved of an image that can be interpreted as questioning Israels right to exist (criticism of Israel is not necessarily antisemitic; applying double standards, demonization, or delegitimization of Israel is; see eg 3d test of antisemitism). She also likened Israel to Nazi Germany and said that "the Jews are rallying", and shared pro-Hamas tweets. Shah was suspended, but later reinstated. She now regrets these incidents and agrees that they were antisemitic.
  • Ken Livingstone. He eg said that Jews will not vote for Labour because they are rich, said that Hitler supported Zionism, etc. Labour did not see the antisemitism. He was suspended, but not expelled.
  • Labour provided a platform to Miko Peled, who thinks that "the Holocaust should be open to debate". At the same event, delegates proposed to expel Jews who are not for the destruction of Israel from the party.
  • While Labour adopted the IHRA definition on antisemitism, they removed examples. They also say that accusations of dual loyalty - a classic antisemitic canard - is not antisemitic.
  • The head of Labour's dispute panel defended a Holocaust denier.
  • local council candidates urged others to "question the Holocaust" and "Rothschilds Jewish mafia", and posted other Rothschild conspiracy theories.

Of course, this list is incomplete. Other sources name a number of other examples. Here is a small sample:

  • Corbyn praised Sheikh Raed Salah, who has previously engaged in blood libel. A member who discussed the "Jewish Question" was expelled, then re-admitted, and only then finally expelled. Another member talked about Jews having "big noses". Oxford's Labour club members shouted "filthy Zionist" at a Jewish student. Corbyn backed a group of a Holocaust denier.
  • A Labour candidate denied the Holocaust.
  • A council member shared an antisemitic video. No action was taken against him.
  • Corbyn linked a massacre to Israel without any evidence.
  • A Labour councillor called Hitler "the greatest man in history".
  • Labour still has 200 open cases of alleged antisemitic conduct
  • The campaign against Antisemitism lists 39 cases of antisemitism from Labour members, including the reaction - or non-reaction - to them from the party. Incidents include among other blaming Jews for false imprisonment, Rothschild conspiracy theories, comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, blood libel, praising of Hitler, etc.

It comes down to a number of antisemitic incidents by individual members (members which other parties likely have as well), and an unwillingness on the part of Labour to identify antisemitism and to take the proper steps against it.


Posted 2018-07-30T10:04:30.230

Reputation: 28 226


Let us continue this discussion in chat.

– gerrit – 2018-07-30T16:10:12.053

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.

– Philipp – 2018-07-30T17:08:23.793


According to the 3D Test of Antisemitism as defined by Natan Sharansky and adopted by the U.S. State Department, deligitimisation of Israel is antisemitic:

The term "delegitimization of Israel" refers to the denial of the Jewish people's right to self-determination, for example, by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

From this definition, it follows that Anti-Zionism is antisemitic. Many on the (far) left side in the Labour Party might describe themselves as Anti-Zionist.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance considers that comparing Israeli policy with Nazi policy is antisemitic:

Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

It is not hard to find leftist individuals who make comparisons between (for example) the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the Nazi occupation of European countries, in particular in the heat of a debate.

Many leftist Jewish organisations disagree with the 3D Test or the IHRA example, and have defined their own rival definitions or examples. A proposed Labour definition does not consider comparing Israeli policy with Nazi policy as antisemitic, for which Labour has been criticised. Examples of lefist Jewish organisations who may be described as antizionist include Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, or Jewdas with its alternative proposed definition, where Jewdas (in their own words) list “Jewish organisations who oppose the Zionist ideology and Israeli occupation and apartheid”. Jewish Voice for Labour in its proposed definition considers that “comparing Israel’s actions to that of the Nazis should not automatically be seen as anti-Semitic”. In this article in Die Welt (in German), a survey on attitudes in members of German political parties distinguishes between classical antisemitism and antisemitism in relation to Israel.

The Campaign against antisemitism has documented 39 cases of what they consider to be antisemitism within the Labour Party. It makes no distinction between “classical” antisemitism and ”antisemitism in relation to Israel”. Most of those incidents involve local councillors. Some involve what many would consider “classical” antisemitic stereotypes such as related to worldwide Jewish conspiracies. Others involve statements that are rather ”antisemitism in relation to Israel”: antisemitic according to the 3D Test or the IHRA example, but not according to the rival definitions such as from Jewdas or Jewish Voice for Labour.

For an example of a somewhat prominent incident that is antisemitic according to the 3D Test but not according to rival definitions, consider the incident where Naz Shah shared an image suggesting that if Israel was located in the middle of the USA, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would be solved. Essentially, the gist of the message is that Israel as a Jewish state should not have been founded in the Middle East. This is antisemitic by the 3D Test definition, because it delegitimises Israel, even though many Jews are anti-Zionist as well.

P.S. The problem is prominent in the Labour Party, but not completely absent from other parties. Based on stats from the Campaign against Antisemitism, Labour is the 3rd worst prominent party considering incidents normalised by membership or number of councillors (most incidents involve councillors). Those stats are based on the mainstream definitions and determined by the Campaign against Antisemitism. I don't know how representative this is.

  • Labour Party: 39 incidents, 552,000 members, 6,470 councillors = 7.1 incidents/100k members or 6.0 incidents/1k councillors
  • Conservative Party: 4 incidents, 124,000 members, 9,116 councillors = 3.2 incidents/100k members or 0.4 incidents/1k councillors
  • Liberal-Democrats: 5 incidents, 100,500 members, 1,890 councillors = 5.0 incidents/100k members or 2.6 incidents/1k councillors
  • Green Party of England and Wales: 5 incidents, 41,000 members, 180 councillors = 12.2 incidents/100k members or 27.8 incidents/1k councillors
  • Scottish National Party: 2 incidents, 118,000 members, 423 councillors: 1.7 incidents/100k members or 4.7 incidents/1k councillors
  • UKIP: 5 incidents, 21,000 members, 108 councillors, 23.8 incidents/100k members or 46 incidents/1k councillors councillors.
  • Not documented: Sinn Féin, Plaid Cymru, Democratic Unionist Party


Posted 2018-07-30T10:04:30.230

Reputation: 40 843

4@tim Yet from the same page, “In May 2018, Jewish Voice for Labour and Free Speech on Israel produced a definition of anti-Semitism. In subsequent notes, posted on the Jewish Voice for Labour website, explained that comparing Israel’s actions to those of the Nazis should not automatically be seen as anti-Semitic”. My answer states that there is disagreement on this aspect, including within the Jewish community. I have documented this disagreement in my answer. I expect Jewish Voice for Labour represent a minority that many, including you, disagree with; but the stance does exist. – gerrit – 2018-07-31T09:31:05.950

Comparing Israel's policy to Nazi Germany isn't proof of anti-Semitism. No, it's just a really strong sign. A lot like how when someone compares Democratic policy to slave ownership, saying that Democrats want to keep black voters down, it's not proof that they're anti-black. Or when someone says that feminists are now the real sexists, it's not proof that they're sexist. None of this is a guarantee, but it should shift one's default position. That is, when some says something so egregious, the odds just shifted greatly in favor of their being prejudiced. – Obie 2.0 – 2018-08-01T21:45:15.327

1Bigots don't usually just come out and tell you nicely that they're prejudiced against a group. You have to infer it from their words and actions. – Obie 2.0 – 2018-08-01T21:48:58.567

1Also, saying that there's disagreement among Jews is certainly true, but not terribly relevant. The effects and definition of anti-Semitism are not decided by referendum. You can find some Jewish people who say whatever thing you want about Israel or Judaism itself, however nasty. That doesn't change its nastiness. – Obie 2.0 – 2018-08-01T21:52:08.343

And looking at your responses in chat dismissing all the examples in the other answer, it seems like you've missed the point. As is so often the case with bigotry, it's not what you say, it's how you say it. "Jews have the highest average household wealth in the US" = probably not anti-Semitic. "Jews are wealthy" = probably anti-Semitic. "Jews control the wealth" = do I even need to say? Similarly, an example of the subtlety you seem to miss: "Some people involved in the slave trade were Jewish." = fine. "Jews financed the slave trade" = probably anti-Semitic. For all this, I'm downvoting. – Obie 2.0 – 2018-08-01T22:02:10.690

As a side note, the data cited in your answer suggests that ant-Semitism is most common on the far right (UKIP) and far left (Green Party, some Labour) of British politics, and more so on the far right. – Obie 2.0 – 2018-08-01T22:06:35.693

3@Obie2.0 What is an isn't sexist, racist, or antisemitic (a subset of racism?) is subject to debate. Most will agree on the extreme cases, but there's always boundary cases where it's debatable. Some of the cases of “Antisemitism in relation to Israel”, as Die Zeit calls it, do appear to fall in the boundary cases situation. I recognise that my answer is controversial, I stand by it and future visitors will be able to consult at least two answers and form their own opinion. – gerrit – 2018-08-01T22:37:43.773

3@Obie2.0 People who make comparisons between Israel policy and Nazi policy tend to consider Nazi policy as the most extreme case of criminally horrendous policy that comes to mind. Antisemitism rather does the opposite: downplaying the historical importance of the Holocaust, or even denying it completely, or praising Nazis. I don't think people who make those comparisons mean to imply the Holocaust wasn't a horrendous crime. I find it weird to classify as antisemitic statements that draw comparisons to the Holocaust precisely because it's the worst documented crime in history. – gerrit – 2018-08-01T22:47:06.713

1I would welcome an in-depth discussion on this topic and I am open to the possibility that I am wrong about this. However, this comment thread (or even chat) is not the right place for such a discussion. – gerrit – 2018-08-01T22:49:06.553


Let us continue this discussion in chat.

– Obie 2.0 – 2018-08-01T23:14:33.677

chat would be the right place – Obie 2.0 – 2018-08-01T23:21:05.930


As Gerrit explains in his answer, the answer depends on the definition of antisemitism. But to do serious research into this issue, one also has to specify the way one is going to select incidents from the set of all possible statements made by members of the party. The problem is that there are a large number of party members, therefore a massive number of statements of which by chance alone something may sound like an antisemitic statement. To get to the bottom of that, one would want to see the entire statement, but since the vast majority of the party members are not prominent people, one may not be able to do that.

If one then restricts attention to the party leader Jeremy Corbyn, then it's clear that the allegations made against him are part of a propaganda campaign. In all cases, the alleged antisemitic statements are taken out of context of the entire argument. It would be a problem is the entire argument were of an antisemitic nature, but there has never been any example of such arguments.

One can play the same game with virtually anyone presenting some argument that in some ways invoke the Holocaust. Take e.g. the statement made by Netanyahu that Hitler Didn't Want to Exterminate the Jews. Then because it is Netanyahu who says this (as part of an argument) and not Corbyn, it won't be used to make an allegation about antisemitism.

Similarly, Donald Trump can get away with making statements about US Neo-Nazi groups, without getting any of the antisemitism criticism that a British Labor party member would when making such statements. In fact, the opposite tends to happen in such cases. We can read here:

The son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed President Trump by suggesting that far-left thugs are just as dangerous as neo-Nazis — or maybe even worse.

Yair Netanyahu was commenting on events Saturday in which a white supremacist rammed his car into counterprotesters of a far-right rally, killing one and injuring some 20 others. Many clashes between activists for the two groups were recorded. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that both sides share the blame for the violence.

Count Iblis

Posted 2018-07-30T10:04:30.230

Reputation: 3 959

The first two paragraphs could do with some citations. – Andrew Grimm – 2019-02-22T23:54:59.470

As you haven’t added additional citations, I’m voting to delete. – Andrew Grimm – 2019-02-26T11:18:22.557


Here's an example. Labour leader Corbyn laying wreaths at the graves of the terrorists that castrated the Israel Olympic athletes and then murdered them during the 1972 Olympics.

K Dog

Posted 2018-07-30T10:04:30.230

Reputation: 1


Jeremy Corbyn has denied those allegations. According to him, he only participated in the memorial for the 47 civilian Palestinians killed in 1985 by Israeli airstrikes on Tunisia.

– Björn Lindqvist – 2019-03-07T19:40:34.677