An open letter to the Forde Inquiry

July 19, 2022

by Martin Odoni

Can make even the right wing of the Labour Party look whiter than white

Good afternoon, Mr Forde & panellists

I thank you for your publication of the findings of your investigation into the Labour Party’s culture and conduct.

Referring you to page 50 of your report, I must draw your attention to the section C2.60, where you write; –

The level of allegations of antisemitism and concern of the Jewish communities [NB: WHAT IS MEANT BY ‘JEWISH COMMUNITIES’ IS NOT DEFINED] and interest of the media should have led to a major move by the leadership, the NEC and all sections of the Party to condemn and deal with signs of antisemitism in the Party. Instead there appears to have been an assertion among supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, including on the NEC and amongst the membership, that the issue was being exaggerated to undermine the leader. Whilst there is some evidence that several* complaints submitted did not involve members of the Party and of some double counting, the problem within parts of the Party was clearly of major significance. [Emphasis added.]

*The actual evidence shows that HUNDREDS of the complaints did not involve members of the Party, not ‘several’. This wording is beyond misleading and should never have been used.

You say the matter was “of major significance” – whatever that means? How exactly have you come to this conclusion, and largely to dismiss the concerns about false accusations? What does ‘major significance’ mean in this context? If you mean only that there was a major furore about it in the media that needed cooling off, this appears to be advice on political strategy, which is surely far beyond the panel’s remit? Whereas if you mean there were large numbers of cases and large numbers of members involved, the sentence is even more problematic, as it is couched in what is called “Weasel Words”. This is to say, you do not substantiate the assertion in any way, but just slip it into the text hoping it will go unchallenged.

Indeed – this is what encourages the impression of a witch-hunt among Labour members – you offer NO discussion of the numbers involved at all. Previous reports, such as that offered by the EHRC last year, also failed to offer any mention or insight into the scale of the issue within Labour ranks, apart from using more meaningless, proportion-free weasel words – “the tip of the iceberg,” which without numbers can mean whatever the reader wants it to mean. The relentless evasion of discussion of the real numbers involved has always been the reason why Labour members have objected very strongly to the constant insinuations against them. You have done NOTHING to change this. Your investigation was supposed to be the opportunity to establish once and for all how many people were involved – that is the only way to establish whether Corbyn supporters were right to claim the problem was ‘exaggerated’ – and all you have offered is the, in this context, completely meaningless and un-valued term, “Major significance.”

Worse, you contradict yourselves rather in the very next paragraph when you state, “several on the Right did seize on the issue as a way to attack Corbyn,” which means you accept that the issue was being manipulated and therefore raising the possibility of it being distorted. This surely demands closer investigation to see how much this was affecting the public perception of the problem. But again, you explore this avenue no further.

Incidentally, please do not offer any pretence that you do not have access to the numbers involved. If that were the case, you should have demanded them, but in any event, you make repeated reference throughout to the ‘Leaked Report’ of April 2020, and the numbers involved were in the appendix of that document – a trifling 56 people in a party of nearly 600,000. Why do you not make any mention of these figures? Why do you not make any attempt to cross-analyse the numbers and make certain of their accuracy, or to establish their inaccuracy, as the case may be? And above all, why do you not draw any attention to how small the proportion was in comparison with the party membership’s overall size? Antisemitism in the Labour Party during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership was proportionally lower, far lower, than in most other political parties, and yet the media were ONLY focusing on the problem in Labour.

Surely you must see that the omission of numbers is a gigantic flaw in your research at the most fundamental level, and therefore makes your report a failure at best, a whitewash at worst?

Could you also explain your complete failure to investigate – even to show any detectable curiosity about – why such a large proportion of the Labour members being expelled for antisemitism were and are Jewish? Approximately one-quarter of those suspended are understood to be Jewish – ALL of them on the left of the party (which is another detail that adds to the suspicions) – and surely such a phenomenon is at least counter-intuitive enough to be grounds for analysis? Again, I can see you making absolutely no mention of this in your report, implying lazy disinterest at best, which, again, means that if you are accused of attempting a whitewash of the behaviour of the Labour Right, you have no one to blame but yourselves.

And could you please offer more clarity on whom you mean by ‘Jewish communities’? Are you actually talking about Jewish members of the public? Or are you assuming that Zionist groups like the Board of Jewish Deputies, and the Campaign Against AntiSemitism, proportionally speak on behalf of Jewish Britons? Because they do not. The BoD only represents about 30% of UK Jews, and the CAA personnel represent no one except themselves.

My conclusion of this report you have published is that it is the result of negligent investigation, and at an extraordinarily basic level. NOT ACTUALLY INCLUDING THE FIGURES is an astonishing oversight that would result in its rejection by any academic institution.

In anticipation of your detailed and prompt reply.

Kind regards
Martin Odoni, a Jewish former member of the Labour Party

POSTSCRIPT:

I await a response to the above – EDIT; not anymore, although I do still await a worthwhile response – but that is fine as I only submitted it about an hour or so ago at the time of writing. There are plenty of other objections to Mr Forde’s standard of investigation. His repeated use of the term ‘Far Left’ to describe Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters throughout the report raises severe concerns about his impartiality. There is considerable lazy “both-sidesing” of the factional dispute between 2015 and 2019, with no clear attempt in various situations to establish which faction initiated the problems. Too many acts of destructive and vindictive cynicism by right wing officials are described as “misunderstandings” without providing enough real indicators to that effect.

The report also fails at every level to acknowledge that Corbyn had a democratic mandate and the right wing faction of the party did not, therefore mention that “both sides” were aggressive towards each other is somewhat irrelevant; the left had a democratic right to take action against any group obstructing the pursuit of policies that had been mandated. The right wing had no right to obstruct in the first place, as the democratic majority were overwhelmingly in favour of the policies.

However, overall, the report is far more damning of the right of the Labour Party than it is of the left, and it does accept that anti-Semitism accusations were being exploited by the right. It also quietly admits, on page 52, section C2.67, that individuals in the Labour Party were “unfairly maligned” in the anti-Semitism furore. That is a significant first step towards formalising the reality of the Labour anti-Semitism scam.

There is still a feeling at the end though that the whole investigation is something of a bucket of white paint.

7 Responses to “An open letter to the Forde Inquiry”

  1. Robin Humphrey Says:

    Fair points raised, but you don’t mention numbers either. I was surpised to find in the disciplinary committee’s recent report that only 114 (I think, but very close if not right) Labour Party members were expelled between May 2020 and May 2022, and that the number expelled for anti-semitism was almost certainly under 100 (not specified in report, but referred to). Some claim both numbers to be in the thousands, and it would help, I think, if people from all wings of the Party were explicit about these things.

    • Martin Odoni Says:

      In fact, I DO mention the numbers, look again. I’ve mentioned them over and over both on this blog and all over social media.

      And I won’t stop doing so until this racist urban myth is broken once and for all.

      • Martin Odoni Says:

        I’ve added in the images of the stats from the Leaked Report from April 2020. If you find them and then look in the paragraph above them, you’ll see I mentioned 56 people being the total number of AS cases found guilty to an expulsion standard.

  2. Robin Humphrey Says:

    OK, admittedly I missed the 56 reference, and the tables do help. I was making a slightly different point, though, on a more recent time period, 2020-2022. I would be intersted to hear you views on that data.

    • Martin Odoni Says:

      The data again suggest the problem of AS in the Labour Party is being blown out of all proportion, and also underline the laughable fiction in the claim that Keir Starmer is doing an effective job at reuniting the party and clearing out a bad culture.


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