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Investigation into anti-Semitism in Labour Party was 'heartbreaking'

Investigation into anti-Semitism in Labour Party was 'heartbreaking'”

"The Panorama program and the BBC have engaged in deliberate and malicious representations created to mislead the public", the party said in response to allegations made in the program that senior Party members - particularly general secretary Jennie Formby and Jeremy Corbyn's communications director Seumas Milne - interfered with anti-Semitism whistleblowers.

He alleged people she had brought in since her appointment "overruled us and downgraded what should've been a suspension to just an investigation or worse to just a reminder of conduct, effectively a slap on the wrist".

Former head of disputes Sam Matthews said he interpreted an email from Mr Milne as "not a helpful suggestion" but as "an instruction".

On Wednesday, Labour also filed a letter of complaint to the BBC over the airing of the Panorama exposé, alleging the reporting in the show "relies heavily and one-sidedly on the claims and allegations of politically partisan anonymous/unnamed sources and Conservative-supporting newspapers and organizations".

"Something's going wrong and we're muddling up political disputes with racism", he reportedly wrote.

"After Jeremy became leader, he opened the floodgates and allowed people to join the Labour Party who never would have been allowed anywhere near it in the past", he told The Jewish Chronicle.

Labour, which has been braced for the accusations, wrote to BBC director-general Lord Hall to complain ahead of the broadcast.

A Labour spokesman accused the broadcaster of "pre-determining" the outcome of its investigation.

A BBC spokesman accused Labour of "criticising a programme they have not seen".

Following the release of the film, Labour Against Anti-Semitism, an internal party group, said in a statement that the reputation of the Labour Party "has been shredded by a Hard Left establishment that has proven apparently incapable of addressing the endemic racism within" and that "their reign must be quickly and efficiently ended".

Deputy leader Tom Watson said the revelations in the BBC's Panorama programme on anti-Semitism in his party were "harrowing".

"It appears these disaffected former officials include those who have always opposed Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, worked to actively undermine it, and have both personal and political axes to grind".

Matthews' predecessor, Mike Creighton, recalled on the show that Milne approached him in the Spring of 2016 to ask his advice about dealing with the growing number of anti-Semitism complaints.

The only element about this that's "false and malicious" is Labour's wicked refusal to tackle antisemitism in the party without engaging in a welter of morally-repugnant "yesbutery" and "whataboutery".

"You have got access to any member of staff", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Labour stands in solidarity with Jewish people and is fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and its organisations. A 2015 Panorama episode Ware produced on Corbyn made false claims and was widely denounced as a "hatchet job", while a 2005 program Ware produced about British Muslims was slammed as "McCarthyite" and "disgusting" - the latter by a former Panorama journalist.

Labour has rejected claims of interference and described the programme as "seriously inaccurate" and "politically one-sided" and has insisted the former staff making the claims were "disaffected". It was an overtly biased intervention by the BBC in party political controversy.

"Since Jennie Formby became general secretary the rate at which anti-Semitism cases have been dealt with has increased more than four-fold", it added.

'Very serious questions now have to be answered'. We will be pursuing complaints at every level. "Second thing I suggested was that it would be the right time for Jeremy Corbyn as leader, to make a significant speech on the issue of the Middle East, particularly saying that Israel had a right to exist. This in no way contradicts the separation of functions within the organisation and it does not contradict the party's position that the complaints process operate independently of the leader's office".



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