London, June 30 (IANS) The Labour Party is not overrun by anti-Semitism or other forms of racism but there is an “occasionally toxic atmosphere”, an inquiry has found.
Shami Chakrabarti, the chairwoman of Labour’s inquiry into anti-Semitism, said on Thursday there was “too much clear evidence… of ignorant attitudes”, BBC reported.
The inquiry followed the suspension of MP Naz Shah and London ex-mayor Ken Livingstone amid anti-Semitism accusations.
Chakrabarti’s inquiry has made 20 recommendations but she said she does not approve of lifetime bans for party membership.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he put his weight behind the inquiry’s “immediate implementation” but he faced criticism after he appeared to compare Israel to so-called Islamic State during the report’s launch.
He said: “To assume that a Jewish friend or fellow member is wealthy, some kind of financial or media conspiracy, or takes a particular position on politics in general or on Israel and on Palestine in particular, is just wrong.”
“Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those various self-styled Islamic States or organisations.”
Sam Stopp, a Labour councillor in Brent, north-west London, tweeted: “@jeremycorbyn has compared Israel to ISIS today. For that alone, he should resign. I am red with fury #Corbyn”
But Corbyn denied comparing the state of Israel to so-called Islamic State.
Corbyn said: “Under my leadership the Labour Party will not allow hateful language or debate in person, online, or anywhere else.”
“We will aim to set the gold standard, not just for anti-racism, but for a genuinely welcoming environment for all communities and for the right to disagree as well.”
“Racism is racism is racism. There is no hierarchy, no acceptable form of it,” he said.
He called for an end to Hitler and Nazi metaphors and comparisons between different human rights atrocities.
“Diluting degrees of evil does no good,” he said.