Corbyn back in Labour party after disciplinary panel vote

Fierce criticism of the decision was voiced by party insiders, with Labour head Keir Starmer saying the reinstatement is “another painful day for the Jewish community.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A Labour disciplinary panel reinstated the membership of former party head Jeremy Corbyn Tuesday, less than three weeks after his suspension for belittling a government report’s conclusion that under his leadership, the party acted illegally in its handling of internal anti-Semitic incidents.

Sir Keir Starmer, who replaced Corbyn after Labour underwent one of the worst electoral defeats in its history last December, was disappointed in the decision.

“I know that this has been another painful day for the Jewish community and those Labour members who have fought so hard to tackle anti-Semitism,” he said. “I know the hurt that has been caused and the trauma people have felt.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s statement in response to the EHRC report was wrong and completely distracted from a report that identified unlawful conduct in our tackling of racism within the Labour Party. This should shame us all,” he said.

Starmer repeated his commitment to carry out all the recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission report, vowing “to make the Labour Party a safe place for Jewish people” again.

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Longtime Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, who was one of Corbyn’s fiercest critics when he ran the party, called the panel’s decision to let Corbyn return after only 19 days “ridiculous.”

Fiona Sharpe, spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism, said that the party’s “disciplinary process again appears subject to political interference, with seemingly no accountability or transparency. Even with… a legal obligation to address the antisemitism crisis within the party, the Jewish community continues to be ignored.”

Sky News reported that a group of Labour parliamentarians threatened to resign if Corbyn is also allowed to return to his seat in the legislature. He currently sits as an independent member of the House of Commons for Islington North.

After the report came out at the end of October saying the party had been responsible for “unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination,” Corbyn rejected some of the findings. He said the “scale of the problem” had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons.”

While not apologizing, Corbyn walked back some of his statements in a Facebook post hours before the panel met.

“To be clear, concerns about anti-Semitism are neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated,’” he wrote. “I fully support Keir Starmer’s decision to accept all the EHRC recommendations in full and, in accordance with my own lifelong convictions, will do what I can to help the party move on, united against anti-Semitism, which has been responsible for so many of history’s greatest crimes against humanity.”

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He went so far as to “regret the pain this issue has caused the Jewish community.”