Anti-semitism crisis affects Scottish Labour too – Kezia Dugdale

Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure to deal with anti-semitism in Labour. Picture: Getty
Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure to deal with anti-semitism in Labour. Picture: Getty
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The explosive BBC Panorama documentary that aired earlier this week examining Labour’s problems with anti-semitism brought into sharp relief the deplorable handling of the issue by the party leadership.

I was appalled by the documentary where former party officials made allegations over racism complaints and criticised the party’s handling of them under Jeremy Corbyn, which included claims that some of his closest allies tried to interfere in disciplinary processes.

I have no reason to doubt any of the staff who gave their testimony and anyone willing to write the programme off as a hatchet job or media bias is simply burying their head in the sand.

Whilst it is easy to look at this issue play out in London at Labour HQ and in Westminster where MP Chris Williamson was recently suspended from Labour for his comments, it is however important to note that the anti-semitism crisis Labour faces runs all the way from Islington to Renfrewshire and on to Shetland.

READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn aides ‘interfered’ in anti-semitism investigations

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Scottish Labour is far from immune and there have already been a number of high-profile cases here such as former MP, Jim Sheridan being suspended for his comments before being readmitted to the party earlier this year, an affront to many of Scottish Labour’s membership and sending completely the wrong message to the electorate.

If Labour want to seriously tackle this poison flowing through the veins of the party, they cannot wait for the Equality and Human Rights Commission to conclude its report or obfuscate on this issue any longer.

The party must be unequivocal about introducing strict new measures to tackle anti-semitism including the automatic expulsion of members. Only then can they start to rebuild the trust of what should be natural friends in the Jewish community.