The man helping to lead the British Labour party’s inquiry into anti-Semitism is a named supporter of a group which has dismissed allegations of Jew-hatred in the party as “baseless and disingenuous”, The Jewish Chronicle reports.
Professor David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism, was named by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as vice-chairman of the inquiry - led by Shami Chakrabarti, former head of campaign group Liberty - which will look into claims of anti-Semitism among the party members.
But Prof. Feldman is a signatory to the leftist organization Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), a group of Jewish academics who are critical of British Jewish communal institutions.
On Sunday, reported The Jewish Chronicle, IJV released a statement which expressed concern “at the proliferation in recent weeks of sweeping allegations of pervasive anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.”
It then added, “Some of these allegations against individuals are, in our view, baseless and disingenuous; in other cases, ill-chosen language has been employed.”
The statement also said that IJV is “equally concerned, however, by the way in which such accusations are deployed politically – whether by the press, the Conservative Party, opponents of Corbyn’s leadership within Labour, or by those seeking to counter criticism of the actions of the Israeli government. The current climate is quickly coming to resemble a witch-hunt, in which statements and associations, some going back years, are being put under the microscope.”
IJV went on to express “dismay” that “anti-Arab racism or Islamophobia” were not receiving the same attention.
Prof. Feldman has been asked for comment, according to The Jewish Chronicle.
The website further noted that, in a "sub report" submitted to last year’s All Party Parliamentary Inquiry Into Antisemitism, Prof. Feldman dismissed most regularly used definitions of anti-Semitism.
He wrote, “Definitions of antisemitism based on double standards, the EUMC working definition, perceptions and outcomes have not been adopted in this sub-report.”
Labour’s inquiry was launched after several members of the party were disciplined for anti-Semitic comments, culminating last Thursday in the suspension of former London Mayor Ken Livingstone.
On Monday, the party suspended three members in one day over anti-Semitic comments, and later that day, sources in the party revealed that Labour has secretly suspended 50 of its members over anti-Semitic and racist comments in recent months.
But the party’s troubles have not stopped there, as it was also revealed that Corbyn, who in the past called Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends", had in the past glorified Fatah arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in Israel.
On Sunday, Corbyn rejected calls from Jewish leaders to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah, vowing to continue talking to them.
Things got even more complicated for Labour on Tuesday, as Hamas spokesman Taher Al-Nunu praised Corbyn for Sunday’s comments – though he later denied doing so.