Saturday, 15 Aug 2020 - 25 of Av, 5780

British Labour Party agrees to pay damages to whistleblowers who criticized growing antisemitism within the party

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The British Labour Party has agreed to pay damages to seven former employees who were sued for defamation after they raised issues of anti-Semitism within the party.

On BBC, the whistleblowers—Louise Withers Green, Dan Hogan, Martha Robinson, Michael Creighton, Benjamin Westerman, Kat Buckingham and Samuel Matthews—discussed  about growing anti-Semitism within the party, criticizing its handling of complaints about Jew-hatred.

The BBC program, which was televised in July 2019, showed the former employees speaking out publicly to reveal Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s personal meddling in disciplinary cases relating to antisemitism. The programme explained how senior Labour Party staffers used to run Labour’s disciplinary process independently, but soon after Corbyn’s election as Party leader found themselves contending with his most senior aides, who were brazen in their efforts to subvert due process.

The seven former members who worked in Labour’s governance and legal unit were accused by the party of having “personal and political axes to grind,” and trying to undermine then-party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn stepped down from his leadership role after Labour suffered a significant loss in the Dec. 12 election, winning just 203 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons—the party’s worst defeat since 1935, while the Conservative Party won 365 seats, their biggest victory since 1987.

“Anti-Semitism has been a stain on the Labour Party in recent years,” said the party in a statement on Wednesday. “If we are to restore the trust of the Jewish community, we must demonstrate a change of leadership.”

Corbyn called the settlement, the amount of which was not disclosed, “a political decision, not a legal one.”

He added that it was “disappointing” as it “risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations” about previous moves to combat Labour’s anti-Semitism.

A spokesperson for British charity group Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “This  extraordinary settlement shows that the Labour Party recognises that its attempts to discredit the courageous whistleblowers, as well as one of the nation’s most respected journalists, were indefensible. To see Labour trying to destroy the reputation of its own staff for calling out Jew-hatred, in some cases causing serious mental health conditions, was an ignominious spectacle and demonstrated how, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour was ready to ruthlessly betray its own principles and people in order to cover up its institutional racism against Jews.’’

New Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, who was elected in April to succeed Corbyn,  has vowed to wipe out the ‘’stain’’ of anti-Semitism from the Labour Party.’’I will tear out this poison by its roots,’’ he said.

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