Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension lifted one month after antisemitism accusations

Jeremy Corbyn (AFP)

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  November 17, 2020

Former Labour leader was suspended in October after saying the party’s problem with antisemitism had been ‘overstated’.

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party reinstated Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday, weeks after he was suspended over his response to antisemitism during his time as leader. 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said in October that the Labour Party acted “unlawfully” with regards to accusations of antisemitism in the party.

At the time, Corbyn accepted the recommendations but said he did not accept all the findings, insisting the scale of antisemitism in the party was “dramatically overstated”.

In response, Labour moved to suspend Corbyn “pending investigation”, sparking outrage among many of the party’s members. 

“The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour Party members were and remain committed anti-racists deeply opposed to antisemitism,” Corbyn said on the day of his suspension, going on to say that antisemitism “has been responsible for so many of history’s greatest crimes against humanity”. 

Earlier on Tuesday, Corbyn sought to draw a line under the issue.

“I hope this matter is resolved as quickly as possible, so that the party can work together to root out antisemitism and unite to oppose and defeat this deeply damaging Conservative government,” he wrote on Facebook.

Corbyn, a long-time supporter of Palestinians, has consistently faced accusations of anti-Jewish prejudice, in part over his past meetings with the Palestinian group Hamas and the Lebanese movement Hezbollah.

The party has in turn been plagued by antisemitism accusations since he was elected leader in September 2015. 

Current leader Keir Starmer has been trying to make a clean break from the Corbyn era as he seeks to turn around Labour’s fortunes after four successive general election defeats since 2010.

One of Starmer’s more controversial moves took place in June when he sacked shadow education secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey for sharing an article on social media in which it was suggested that the US police officer who killed George Floyd in Minnesota had received training from Israeli forces. 

At the time, Starmer accused Long-Bailey of purposefully sharing an “antisemitic conspiracy theory”.

At least 100 Minnesota police officers did receive training from Israeli forces in 2012.