In July 2022, The Forde report was released which investigated the issue of racism within the United Kingdom’s Labour Party. The party is one of two major parties in the UK with the other being the conservative party. From 2015 to 2020, Jeremy Corbyn led the party and was noted for his avowed socialist policies as well as being a strong supporter of Palestinian rights. Throughout his leadership, there were claims of anti-semitism with his defenders saying most of these came from those who equated opposition to Israel and its politics as anti-semitism and attempted to undermine his leadership.
The Forde report was commissioned to assess these claims and found while there was indeed anti-semitism, there were times it was weaponized against the leadership, thereby undermining the party. Additionally, it found the response to Islamophobia and racism in general far weaker indicating that Anti-semitism was not ignored or promoted. The report was not extensively reported in the mainstream British media but was covered in some niche outlets.
The Forde report had several findings that went against much of the reporting in the British media about Labour anti-semitism. According to the Middle East Monitor, “ The 138-page conclusion of the inquiry led by Martin Forde QC not only confirmed claims that anti-Semitism was used as a “factional weapon” and that senior party members on the right were acting in a manner designed to undermine former leader, Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s apparent obsession with discrimination faced by Jews established a “hierarchy of racism” where Islamophobia and all other forms of racism and discrimination were seen to be less important.”
In that sense, anti-semitism far from being neglected was focused on at the expense of anti-Muslim hatred and other forms of racism. Additionally, the report documented attempts by members hostile to Corbyn to undermine the party’s election chances ahead of both the 2017 and 2019 elections when Corbyn led the party. Furthermore, the report noted a continuing problem with Islamophobia in terms of attacks against Muslim MPs like Zarah Sultana and Apsana Begum.
In response to pro-Israel calls to purge the mps for their support of Palestinians, the Labour Muslim network said “The dangerous rhetoric surrounding Muslim public officials is one which has become normalised in British politics.”
The current Labour leader Keir Starmer has failed to condemn this and express solidarity with the MPs. The implication being the party is continuing to neglect Islamophobia against even its own MPs, to speak nothing of ordinary members. The report concluded that in order to be effective, combatting anti-semitism cannot come at the expense of Islamophobia and other forms of racism as it will end up creating unnecessary division between groups who feel that their causes are being neglected to placate others.