Labour’s Anti-Semitism Inquiry Offers Ken Livingstone Path To Rehabilitation

Ken Livingstone
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Ken Livingstone’s way back into the Labour fold has been revealed following the part-publication of the party’s report into allegations of anti-Semitism in the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC).

As Breitbart London previously reported, the investigation of the OULC was commissioned after Alex Chalmers, a Co-Chair of the group, resigned his post claiming anti-Semitism and support for Islamist terror among left wing students is becoming routine. He called out “senior members of the club expressing their ‘solidarity’ with Hamas and explicitly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians”, and said any concerns about anti-Semitism were dismissed as “just the Zionists crying wolf”.

The report — commissioned by the Labour Party’s National Executive Commttee (NEC) and conducted by Baroness Royall, a former advisor to Neil Kinnock and later a Leader of the House of Lords under Gordon Brown — found no “institutional anti-Semitism” at the OULC,  but nevertheless recommended steps to be taken by both the students’ Club and the senior party, which Jewish News reports could be seen as criticism of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of other recent cases.

In the extracts of the report which were made public yesterday, Baroness Royall recommended the party should “consider adopting rule changes that will allow swifter action to deal with anti-Semitism” including setting up a new independent disciplinary panel.

Her reason for focusing on more than just the OULC was because she felt it impossible to look at them “without considering how our party itself responds to these events.” She explained:

“I am therefore making recommendations about how Labour tackles antisemitism to minimise the chance of any repetition of incidents such as those described.”

One specific recommendation — from which Ken Livingstone and others like Member of Parliament (MP) Naz Shah may extract some comfort — is that despite her suggestion that the party should adopt “a definition of anti-semitic discourse” she believes those suspended for anti-Semitism should not be barred for life because “people may change their views”.

In so saying, Baroness Royall directly contradicts the line taken by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell in March when he told the The Independent any Labour members expressing anti-Semitic views should be:

“Out, out, out. If people express these views, full stop they’re out.”

The part-publication of the report has itself caused consternation from critics of Labour’s stance on anti-Semitism, as it is claimed the NEC prevented Baroness Royall from being able to publish her full findings.

Joan Ryan MP, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, said limiting publication to edited extracts “makes it difficult to judge the report and opened the party to charges of a cover-up. Most importantly, for the victims of anti-Semitism justice has not been seen to be done.”

The Board of Deputies President, Jonathan Arkush, said the report’s author clearly identified a problem of anti-Semitism in the OULC, evidenced by the fact it proposed 11 recommendations for “immediate and sustained action”.

However, Mr. Arkush also identified “a culture of suppressing or delaying the release of reports on this crucial issue”, adding that “in view of the limited nature of what has been released, it is difficult to judge what the report says on important matters, such as where extreme anti-Israel rhetoric, such as calling Jews ‘Zios’ or singing songs like ‘rockets over Tel Aviv’, becomes anti-Semitic.”

Baroness Royall’s report into the OULC will now be fed into the inquiry into anti-Semitism within Labour ranks being chaired by Shami Chakrabarti, the former head of the human rights lobby group Liberty. That wider report aims to set out “clear and transparent” rules on how the party should deal with allegations of racism and anti-Semitism, as well as proposing new training guidelines for party members.

After her role was announced it was revealed that Ms. Chakrabarti has taken up Labour Party membership herself, which she told the BBC is in order to gain members’ “trust and confidence”.

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