Labour 'too tolerant' of anti-Semitism - new poll

Henry Bodkin
Shami Chakrabarti, second left, was enobled after her inquiry into Labour anti-Semitism - Getty Images Europe

The vast majority of British Jews believe the Labour Party is too tolerant of anti-Semitism, the results of a new poll suggest.

Eighty-three per cent of those taking part in a survey said they thought racist sentiment was not sufficiently challenged among Labour MPs, members and supporters, compared to 19 per cent about the Conservatives.

The YouGov survey also suggests one in three jews in the UK has considered emigrating due to pervading anti-Semitic feeling.

Why are our world-renowned criminal justice system and some of our famous political parties still doing too little?

Gideon Falter, CAA Chairman

The poll for the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) follows mounting criticism of Jeremy Corbyn’s efforts to combat anti-Jewish sentiment within Labour.

The party has been criticised for failing to expel Ken Livingstone, one of Mr Corbyn’s most prominent allies, after he appeared to suggest Hitler was a supporter of Zionism.

The independence of an inquiry into anti-Semitism in the party was also questioned after its chair, Shami Chakrabarti, was subsequently made a Labour peer.

Last night the CAA said there had been a “failure to excise anti-Semites” from British politics.

The survey of 2,025 British Jews, conducted in July and August, found that 36 per cent felt anti-Semitism was tolerated in the Liberal Democrats.

Sixty-five said they believed Government does not do enough to protect Jews in the UK, while 52 per cent think the Crown Prosecution Service Could do more.

There has been a record-number of anti-Semitic hate incidents Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty

Sizeable minorities thought the police - 41 per cent - and the courts - 47 per cent - could do more, while only 39 per cent of British Jews felt confident that anti-Semitic hate crime would be prosecuted.

CAA chairman Gideon Falter said: “Our research clearly shows that British Jews have pointed their fingers at the Crown Prosecution Service and the Labour Party.

"If British society can fight anti-Semitism, why are our world-renowned criminal justice system and some of our famous political parties still doing too little?

"There is not a moment to lose. Without urgent change, British Jews may start to leave, as has happened elsewhere in Europe."

The poll comes after the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism in Britain, reported a record number - 767 - of anti-Semitic hate incidents in the UK in the first six months of 2017.

Despite this, the CAA/YouGov survey suggests anti-Semitism, measured by how many respondents agreed with seven anti-Semitic statements, has been in decline over the past three years, dropping to 36 per cent in 2017

Ken Livingstone was suspended but not expelled following comments about Hitler Credit: Eddie Mulholland

Former cabinet minister Sir Eric Pickles, of Conservative Friends of Israel, said: "Modern anti-Semitism has been allowed to flourish in the left of British politics, unchallenged by the Labour leadership, this report is a wake-up call.

"They cannot continue to be half-hearted in their approach, the time has come to root anti-Semitism out of British life."

A Labour spokesman said: "The Labour Party campaigns against anti-Semitism and condemns all anti-Semitic abuse.

"That's why Jeremy Corbyn set up the Chakrabarti Inquiry into anti-Semitism.

"Its recommendations have already led to far-reaching changes to the practices of the Labour Party.

"The party has also taken decisive disciplinary action over allegations of anti-Semitism and will continue to do so in the future."

Last week the Labour MP John Mann, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on anti-Semitism, called on Mr Corbyn to change his position on Venezuela, claiming the Government of Nicolas Maduro were failing to prevent attacks on Jewish groups.

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