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Keir Starmer refuses to restore party whip to Jeremy Corbyn over ‘anti Semitism’ accusations

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Labor Party leader Keir Starmer (R) appears determined to use the anti-Semitism issue to continually sideline his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn (L)

Labor Party leader, Keir Starmer, is refusing to restore former leader Jeremy Corbn’s party whip, despite the latter’s apparent climbdown in the face of intense pressure.

Starmer’s decision comes on the heels of Corbyn’s reinstatement in the party following his brief suspension over his response to a human rights watchdog’s report on alleged anti-Semitism in the Labor Party.

This means that Corbyn will not officially be a Labor MP (as the whip has been withdrawn), even though he is now back in the Labor fold.  

In trying to justify his decision, Starmer claimed that Labor’s disciplinary process “does not have the confidence of the Jewish community”.

And in a brazen swipe at his predecessor, Starmer added: “That [lack of confidence] became clear once again yesterday”.

Brief suspension

Corbyn was originally suspended by the Labor Party late last month following his defiant response to a report on alleged anti-Semitism in the party by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

In his immediate reaction to the EHRC report, Corbyn said the scale of anti-Semitism in the Labor Party had been “dramatically overstated” by his opponents.

However, on Tuesday (November 17) Corbyn appeared to backtrack somewhat by saying that concerns about anti-Semitism are neither “exaggerated” nor “overstated”.

It was this modification of his original position that allowed Corbyn to have his party membership reinstated by Labor’s National Executive Committee.

Starmer opposition

However, Corbyn’s tentative retreat has clearly not placated Starmer, who appears to be more determined than ever to sideline his predecessor and ideological opponent.

"I'm the leader of the Labor Party, but I'm also the leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party", Starmer asserted in his statement.

"Jeremy Corbyn's actions in response to the EHRC report undermined and set back our work in restoring trust and confidence in the Labor Party's ability to tackle anti-Semitism”, Starmer claimed.

"In those circumstances, I have taken the decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. I will keep this situation under review", Starmer concluded.

Zionist support 

Starmer received support for his hardline position on Corbyn from a familiar quarter, namely the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BDBJ), the oldest and largest Jewish organization in the UK. 

The BDBJ’s president, Marie van der Zyl, said Starmer had "taken the appropriate leadership decision", before adding Corbyn had been "shameless and remorseless for what he has put the Jewish community through".

However, former Labor shadow chancellor and Corbyn ally, John McDonnell, tweeted that the move was "just plain wrong" and would cause "more division and disunity in the party".

— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) November 18, 2020 ">http://

This is just plain wrong & will cause more division & disunity in party. Jeremy’s gone through the formal procedures & decision has been made properly. I appeal to everyone that surely it’s time to move on & start working together to implement the EHRC.

— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) November 18, 2020

Islamophobia ignored?

Starmer’s hardline position on Corbyn – and by extension his desire to continually appease the Zionist lobby in the UK – comes in the wake of evidence that the intense focus on alleged anti-Semitism may be coming at the expense of other minority groups within the Labor Party.

According to a survey by the Labor Muslim Network, 55 percent of Muslim Labor members and supporters do not “trust the leadership of the Labor Party to tackle Islamophobia effectively”.

In addition, more than half of Muslim members and supporters claimed they had either directly experienced Islamophobia within the Labor Party or had witnessed it being practiced in party settings.

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