United Kingdom Labour leader Keir Starmer told the party’s annual conference that he’d had “to rip antisemitism out [of the party] by its roots” after assuming leadership, to loud applause from the gathered audience.
Labour under former leader Jeremy Corbyn was accused of allowing antisemitism to fester within its ranks, and Corbyn himself was accused of various displays of antisemitism.
A UK government investigation into antisemitism in the party in 2020 found that equality laws were broken and the party under Corbyn was “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.”
Labour suspended Corbyn following his response to the damning report. He had said he didn’t accept all of its findings and asserted that “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”
Since succeeding Corbyn as Labour leader, Starmer has sought to reshape the party’s public image by expelling or demoting several of its leading activists and supporters who have either been directly accused of antisemitism or who insisted that Corbyn’s tenure did not lead to a substantive antisemitism controversy.
Last year Labour banned four far-left factions as part of an effort to address frustration about the party’s handling of antisemitism.
The four factions, known for supporting Corbyn, have been accused of downplaying claims of antisemitism as politically motivated and of condoning inappropriate comments by party members.