Neviim Tovim, blogs by Gillian Gould Lazarus

Reporting the Forde Report

Posted on: July 20, 2022

I learned from responses to the EHRC report, the ‘Leaked Report’ and also, going back to distant 2016, the Chilcot Report into Britain’s role in the Iraq war, that there is a wide latitude in the interpretation of long awaited reports, sometimes viewed through the lens of the reader’s preconceptions.

Now we have the Forde report, anticpated for so long by the Corbynist left that the very words Forde Report were used by them as a meme and a hashtag.

Like all the other reports, I find it could have been worse and could have been better.

Already I have seen Corbynists, including Mr Corbyn himself, reacting as they did to the Leaked Report, as if it denied antisemitism and vindicated the former Labour leader and his office. A spokesman from Momentum, Martin Abrams, on BBC’s Politics Live has said that the report reveals the repugnant racism from the staff of Labour HQ and Mr Corbyn also made this point, referencing ‘repulsive racism and sexism’ directed at Diane Abbott. This was the Corbynist response to the ‘Leaked Report’ and, so far, their perception of the Forde Report is no different.

The authors of the derogatory WhatsApp messages about Diane Abbott insisted that their hostility was unrelated to her being a black woman. Paragraph C6:8 of the report sees it this way.

The report faults both right and left factions of the Labour Party for considering themselves above racism and antisemitism. It points out that an anti racist record does not make one immune from prejudice, as shown by Mr Corbyn’s actions in perpetuating a culture of antisemitism, despite his perception of himself as a lifelong anti-racist.

‘…the failure of the elected leadership to countenance that (as lifelong antiracists) they could be behaving in a way which perpetuated antisemitism.’ This is something Mr Corbyn has always strenuously denied, to the extent of saying that the charges of antisemitism are made in bad faith, and often has not limited himself to accusing the staff of Labour Party HQ but implicated Zionists in general, Jewish journalists and Jewish communal organizations.

The knock on effect of this standpoint had a negative effect on Jewish members in some Constituency Labour Parties. The authors of the Forde Report express this clearly.

Ardent defenders of Mr Corbyn have often said that the ‘Leaked Report’ shows that there was no antisemitism in Labour, or that it was exaggerated or overstated but the Forde panel are right, in my view, to state firmly that this was not the case.

According to Forde, the authors of the Leaked Report believed that they were misrepresented as minimizing the problem of antisemitism, which they considered rife in the party membership. They rejected the view that it was exaggerated or ‘a smear’. When I read the Leaked Report in April 2020, I saw that they acknowledged the extent of the problem and I was sorry to see assertions on Corbynist social media that it proved – as Mr Maginn likes to say – ‘it was a scam.’

The thrust of the Forde report as far as I understand it is that factions of right and left, respectively Labour HQ and LOTO, had extremely rancorous feelings towards each other and used whatever they could to the other’s detriment.

It is axiomatic on Corbynist social media that, due to their hostility towards Corbyn’s leadership, the right wing of the Labour Party conspired to lose the General Elections of 2017 and 2019. The Forde Report rejects this allegation.

The report takes an even-handed view when apportioning blame between the factions, a degree of incompetence and confusion impeding the leader’s office, in their relations with Labour Party staff.

This even-handedness may be seen as a flaw, probably by both sides. My own perception is that one side, the Leader of the Opposition’s Office, perpetuated and nurtured antisemitism and, in opposing this, the staff at Head Office were justified in resisting them. This is not to say that Labour staff were justified in all things they did, least of all in the malicious WhatsApp messages, but their opposition to an antisemitic culture, confirmed by the EHRC Report, the Leaked Report and the Forde Report is not, in my opinion, culpable.

I am afraid that paragraphs such as C2.60, below, will be ignored or forgotten by those partisan to the previous Labour leader.

The most disappointing paragraph to me in the Forde Report suggested that JVL be included with JLM in providing education about antisemitism. I have written elsewhere about JVL attracting a significant number of antisemitic supporters and why I think their intense anti Zionism clouds their perception of classic anti Jewish tropes.

However, the point of my post here is that the report should be read, warts and all, and that it should not be misrepresented as supporting or condemning things it does not support or condemn.

Last night, I noticed a ‘Corbyn was right’ hashtag on Twitter apropos the report, and Mr Corbyn himself made a statement, to the effect that the report calls out racism towards Diane Abbott. He does not mention the comments regarding his own failures and perpetuation of antisemitism. This is from Jeremy Corbyn’s statement which also includes the usual reference to billionaires and repeats the slogan ‘for the many not the few’.

The report, in my opinion, largely corroborates the portrayal of Corbyn’s Labour in ‘Left Out’ by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire, as dysfunctional in many ways, perpetually circling round an indecisive but stubborn leader, out of his depth and out of his comfort zone which undoubtedly reached its apotheosis whenever he was informing his supporters at outdoor rallies about the iniquities of Israel. https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/442223/left-out-by-gabriel-pogrund-and-patrick-maguire/9781529113624

I am sure the perception of Corbyn as antisemitic was not the only reason why Labour staff were hostile to the leadership. Some abrasive persons had been raised to positions of high authority and the situation of those answerable to them was unenviable.

For myself, it is a matter of overriding importance and the reason why I ceased to vote Labour.

I brace myself for the misreporting and wishful thinking which will be printed and posted in respect of the Forde report. Already I have been embroiled on Twitter and saw fit to highlight the sentence which the Corbynists will not want to read.

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2 Responses to "Reporting the Forde Report"

So everyone’s happy they’re exonerated despite not being so.

Politicians eh!

K

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  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: Thank you for reading it Keith. As always, I value your opinion.
  • keithmarr: Gillian Thorough research as always. I always keep these posts and hit any challenge between the eyes. They represent a real armoury of evidence. Bl
  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: I can never make up my mind whether it should be illegal and tend to think it shouldn't be. On the other hand, social media could do more to stop it p
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