U.K. Equality Watchdog Opens Anti-Semitism Probe Into Labour Party

LONDON (Reuters) -
labour anti-semitism
Jeremy Corbyn following a press conference in London in 2009, with organizers of national demonstrations against Israeli military action in Gaza. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s equality watchdog said on Tuesday it was launching a formal investigation to determine whether Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has discriminated against, harassed or victimized people because they are Jewish.

Labour, Britain’s main opposition party, has promised to cooperate fully with the investigation, it added.

“We contacted Labour after receiving a number of complaints about allegations of anti-Semitism in the party,” the Equality and Human Rights Commission said in a statement.

“We have carefully considered the response we received from the party and have now opened a formal investigation … to further examine the concerns.”

Labour has faced accusations of anti-Semitism for over two years and consistently denies them.

Nine lawmakers quit the party in February, citing the leadership’s handling of the accusations, as well as its Brexit stance, as their reason for leaving.

In the same month, Labour suspended one of its lawmakers and said it would investigate his conduct after he said the party had been “too apologetic” in the long-running row.

A veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights, Corbyn had been criticized by members, lawmakers and Jewish leaders for not fully adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism.

Last September, the party agreed to adopt the definition.