Key Corbyn official said a Labour activist should NOT be suspended over an anti-Semitic image posted on Facebook because it was ‘anti-Israel, not anti-Jewish’Kayla Bibby posted an image taken from a far-right blog on the social media siteShowed an alien painted with a Star of David suffocating the Statue of Liberty Labour MP said image was…
Key Corbyn official said a Labour activist should NOT be suspended over an anti-Semitic image posted on Facebook because it was ‘anti-Israel, not anti-Jewish’
- Kayla Bibby posted an image taken from a far-right blog on the social media site
- Showed an alien painted with a Star of David suffocating the Statue of Liberty
- Labour MP said image was ‘blatantly racist’ and she should have been expelled
An official in Jeremy Corbyn’s office recommended against suspending a Labour activist who posted an anti-Semitic image on Facebook because they deemed it was ‘anti-Israel, not anti-Jewish’, according to leaked emails.
The image, showing the Statue of Liberty being smothered by a creature from the Alien films bearing a Star of David was posted by Kayla Bibby with a caption saying it was ‘the most accurate photo I’ve seen all year’.
But she was let off with a warning after a senior figure suggested it was not anti-Semitic, emails seen by The Times show.
Labour MPs blasted the decision with one saying the image was ‘blatantly racist’ and questioning why she had not been expelled from the party altogether.
Jewish comedian and writer David Baddiel was among those who attacked the image that was shared by Labour activist kayla Bibby, who avoided a suspension from the party over it
The latest leak of private Labour emails was another headache fro party leader Jeremy Corbyn as the anti-Semitism crisis within the party showed no sign of abating
It came as Labour continued to be gripped by a civil war over anti-Semitism within the party that has spiralled in recent weeks after weighing down Mr Corbyn’s leadership for several years.
In an email dating from May an official in Labour’s complaints team flags up the ‘worrying’ image posted on Facebook, adding: ‘I recommend suspension, can you confirm your view?’
Six days later a senior official in Jeremy Corbyn’s team replied, saying that there was ‘clearly room for significant misinterpretation’, but adding: ‘However, the context of the other posts would point to it being anti-Israel, not anti-Jewish.’
Labour Essex MP Wes Streeting criticsed the decision, saying: ‘Whatever the motives of the person behind the leak, it doesn’t alter the fact that a blatantly racist image was considered and the person responsible wasn’t expelled.
‘This is not the zero tolerance that was promised. Far from it.’
Jewish comedian and writer David Baddiel was among those who criticised the image, saying it showed ‘a monstrous disgusting insectoid alien’ and ‘seems to say something a bit beyond geo-politics to me’.
Meanwhile Mr Corban earlier blasted a prominent Jewish MP who raised concerns over Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism, accusing her of a ‘breach of trust’ after she recorded a meeting with the party leader.
His furious attack on Dame Margaret Hodge came as the largest Jewish group affiliated to Labour prepared to hold meetings tonight to decide whether to sever ties with the left-wing party after almost a century.
More than 100 backbench MPs have signed an open letter urging the Jewish Labour Movement to retain its links as the bitter civil war over anti-Semitism grew ever more fractious.
Mr Corbyn was heavily criticised by Dame Margaret on Tuesday when she accusing him of failing to show ‘zero tolerance’ if the offenders are his ‘mates’.
She fired a fired a broadside at the embattled party leader, questioning whether he had ‘misled’ her or been misled himself about the extent of his team’s involvement in cases.
In a letter to the MP today Mr Corbyn reacted angrily to a suggestion that Dame Margaret had a recording of a meeting last week, despite an agreement that it would be private.
‘I was therefore extremely disappointed to learn on the (BBC Radio 4) Today programme that you have an audio recording of the meeting,’ he wrote.
Leaked emails reveal that Labour’s head of compliance Thomas Gardiner overruled a junior official who had recommended the member be suspended.
He said no action should be taken against her at all because she merely viewed anti-Semitism allegations as politically-motivated rather than ‘engaging in anti-Semitism’ herself.
Mr Gardiner also sought to delay the suspension of a member who shared a post accusing Jewish people of ‘eating the organs of their enemies’. He said there should be no suspension until it was found whether his disability had left him vulnerable.
And he tried to block the immediate suspension of a member who accused Jewish MPs of ‘not reining in their killers in the Middle East’. The member wrote that Blairites opposing Mr Corbyn were assisted by the ‘Jewish brigade’.
Barking MP Dame Margaret had accused the Labour leader of being soft on anti-Semitism cases if they involved his ‘mates’
The Daily Mail has seen a raft of emails showing Mr Gardiner overruling the recommendations of his junior official.
In one shocking case, he concluded a picture of an alien bearing the Star of David choking the Statue of Liberty was not anti-Semitic.
He also said a member should not be suspended even though they suggested Jews were in league with the Freemasons.
Another member who wrote of ‘Zionist infiltrators in the Labour Party stirring trouble that doesn’t exist’ deserved the same treatment because it ‘could not be proved’ the comment was aimed at MP Luciana Berger.
The emails revealed Mr Gardiner suggested a Jewish member should face investigation after he complained publicly of a member using the word ‘Zio’.
Mr Gardiner, a councillor in Camden, north London, and former adviser to Labour chairman Ian Lavery, was brought in as head of the party’s compliance unit last spring. The appointment caused a scandal after it emerged he had put forward a motion in his local party to argue: ‘The factional use which a few within the party have tried to make of anti-Semitism has been wrong and has been counter-productive in dealing with the problem.’
Under the party’s disciplinary structure at the time, Labour’s head office made recommendations on whether people should be suspended. These recommendations were then passed to the National Compliance Committee for a final decision.
Mr Gardiner downgraded his junior’s recommendation to suspend one member who wrote: ‘The Blairite/political Zionist-controlled NEC [National Executive Committee] is still unjustly removing people from the party.’
She also shared a tweet saying it was ‘time to stop apologising about anti-Semitism and call this out as a witch-hunt’.
In response, Mr Gardiner wrote: ‘No action. It is evident… this is a Jewish member who views anti-Semitism allegations as politically-motivated, not someone engaging in anti-Semitism themselves.’
Labour said: ‘This is a malicious, selective briefing from a disgruntled former employee. It is a deeply unfair attack on staff working in good faith to apply the party rule book to individual cases and progress complaints through the disciplinary process.’
Last night the Jewish Labour Movement agreed at a meeting to ‘stay and fight’ in the party.
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