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Labour Admits It Smeared Jewish Whistleblowers Under Jeremy Corbyn – The Daily Beast

The British Labour Party has admitted it defamed Jewish whistleblowers who spoke to the BBC Panorama program about anti-Semitism in the party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

The program featured a number of Jewish whistleblowers who condemned the party’s practices on anti-Semitic complaints under the direction of Corbyn, claiming that several high ranking officers in the party interfered with investigations into alleged perpetrators who were members of the party.

Labour responded at the time by accusing those who participated in the program of just being “disaffected former staff” who harbored “personal and political axes to grind” and made malicious and false claims in order to damage the party.

Seven of the whistleblowers and the Panorama program presenter John Ware then sued Labour for defamation. In Ware’s suit, he claims that Labour defamed him when they accused him and his team of “deliberate and malicious representations designed to mislead the public.”

Labour’s 28-page complaint to the BBC complained that the program contained “the tendentious and politically slanted script; the bias in the selection of interviewees; and the failure to identify the political affiliations or records of interviewees in a highly controversial, sensitive and contested subject produced a programme that was a one-sided authored polemic.”

Allegations of anti-Jewish racism dogged the Labour Party under Corbyn, although he always denied it. One Jewish lawmaker quit the party over his failings, he was linked to anti-Semitic speakers and Facebook posts, and he was widely condemned for failing to drive anti-Semitic members out of the party.

    On the day that Keir Starmer was elected to replace him, the new Labour leader announced that convincing the Jewish community that the party had changed was his top priority. He said he would root out anti-Semitism in the party. The latest step in that process was to retract their incendiary complaint made to the BBC, and admit they had defamed and mistreated the whistleblowers.

    “We acknowledge the many years of dedicated and committed service that the Whistleblowers have given to the Labour Party as members and as staff,” the statement, issued Wednesday, reads. “We unreservedly withdraw all allegations of bad faith, malice and lying. We would like to apologise unreservedly for the distress, embarrassment and hurt caused by their publication. We have agreed to pay them damages.”

    The statement goes on to admit that anti-Semitism within Labour has “been a stain” on the party in recent years. “It has caused unacceptable and unimaginable levels of grief and distress for many in the Jewish community, as well as members of staff.”

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    UK Labour leader sacks former left-wing rival for sharing article with ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theories’ – Fox News

    U.K. Labour Party leader Keir Starmer sacked a member of his shadow cabinet, and a former left-wing leadership rival, after she approvingly shared an article that contained what Starmer called “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”

    “The sharing of that article was wrong because that article contained anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, I have therefore stood Rebecca Long-Bailey down from the shadow cabinet,” Starmer told the BBC.

    KEIR STARMER ELECTED LEADER OF BRITAIN’S LABOUR PARTY AMID CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

    The shadow cabinet is used to refer to the senior group of opposition MPs who take on policy areas that correspond to the government’s cabinet. Long-Bailey had been serving as the shadow education secretary. She will remain as a member of Parliament.

    In this handout photo provided by UK Parliament, Britain's Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday, June 24, 2src2src. (Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament via AP)

    In this handout photo provided by UK Parliament, Britain’s Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday, June 24, 2020. (Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament via AP)

    “I’ve made it my first priority to tackle anti-Semitism and rebuilding trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority for me,” Starmer said.

    Long-Bailey’s sacking was due to an Independent article she shared on Twitter featuring an interview with actress Maxine Peake, who was interviewed on everything from the British Conservative Party government’s handling of the coronavirus to the recent death of George Floyd in police custody in the U.S.

    JEREMY CORBYN SAYS HE IS ‘VERY SORRY’ ABOUT LABOUR PARTY ANTI-SEMITISM ALLEGATIONS 

    At one point, Peake says “tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.” The article notes that the Israel police denies such an unfounded claim.

    Long-Bailey shared the article, saying Peake was “an absolute diamond.”

    Her sacking also comes as Starmer has promised to root out anti-Semitism that was allowed to percolate in the party under the leadership of his far-left predecessor Jeremy Corbyn.

    Corbyn stepped down as leader earlier this year after a brutal election defeat in December at the hands of the Tories. Long-Bailey, who was viewed as the candidate who would keep the party firmly on the left, stood for the leadership against the more centrist Starmer — who eventually won.

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2src19 file photo, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Britain's Shadow Business secretary speaks onstage during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, England.  (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

    FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 file photo, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Britain’s Shadow Business secretary speaks onstage during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, England.  (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

    Long-Bailey, in a lengthy statement on Twitter, said her retweet was in no way “an intention to endorse every part of that article.”

    “I wished to acknowledge these concerns and duly issued a clarification of my retweet, with the wording agreed in advance by the Labour Party Leader’s Office, but after posting I was subsequently instructed to take both this agreed clarification and my original retweet down,” she said.

    “I could not do this in good conscience without the issuing of a press statement of clarification. I had asked to discuss these matters with Keir before agreeing what further action to take, but sadly he had already made his decision,” she said.

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    The Board of Deputies of British Jews praised Starmer’s move and said Long-Bailey’s position was “untenable.”

    “There can be no space for this sort of action in any party and it is right that after so many challenging years Labour is now making this clear under its new leader,” President Marie van der Zyl said in a statement.

    Meanwhile, the left-wing group Momentum, which helped sweep Corbyn to leadership in 2015, accused Starmer of overreacting.

    “[Starmer] says he wants party unity, then sacks the most prominent left-winger on the front bench for no good reason. It’s a reckless overreaction,” the group said.

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