The Electronic Intifada / January 14, 2021
Ken Livingstone is going to court in the UK to challenge anti-Semitism allegations.
The former mayor of London is contesting the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s controversial report that in October claimed he was guilty of “unlawful harassment” against Jews.
Along with Labour councillor Pam Bromley, Livingstone was one of only two cases of supposed Labour anti-Semitism the EHRC cited.
Livingstone and Bromley announced in a joint press release on Thursday that they had “assembled a top legal team to address the findings against them.”
They are seeking to crowdfund around $55,000 to cover their initial costs.
“The EHRC’s investigation into the Labour Party was a politically-motivated attack aimed at derailing Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership,” said Livingstone in the statement. “The Commission cobbled together a half-baked case against me, justified by a flawed legal analysis.”
He said the legal challenge “will be a vital step in correcting the record and in fighting back against a McCarthyite smear campaign which has been waged against the British left over the past five years.”
Bromley said that the “EHRC report and its dubious legal analysis will have knock-on effects for freedom of expression. The right of pro-Palestine campaigners to criticise the state of Israel and its apartheid policies is being actively suppressed.”
The legal challenge – known as a judicial review – is being supported by the Left Legal Fighting Fund.
In that case, the High Court ruled that Labour’s “re-suspension” of Williamson had been unlawful and awarded him back most of his costs.
Williamson was one of the top targets that Israel and its lobby sought to purge from Labour during the Corbyn years. He had been the only MP to challenge the anti-Semitism smears against Corbyn.
Corbyn’s suspension from Labour was overturned after a massive membership backlash. But after the intervention of right-winger Starmer, he remains excluded from the party’s group in Parliament.
The Morning Star reported on Thursday that Corbyn’s team will launch the first stage of a legal challenge to this exclusion in the High Court next week.
Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor with The Electronic Intifada; he lives in London