Tuesday, 3 May 2016

How to get the result you want from an enquiry

The BBC seem terribly impressed that 'Jeremy Corbyn is to hold an independent inquiry into anti-Semitism and other forms of racism in the Labour Party.'

The BBC report that 'The inquiry's vice-chairman will be Professor David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism.'

That sounds positive, he must know his stuff.

Unfortunately for Jeremy Corbyn and the BBC some people actually do know their stuff, the Jewish Chronicle for one:

'The man helping to lead Labour’s inquiry into antisemitism is a named supporter of a group which has dismissed allegations of Jew-hatred in the party as “baseless and disingenuous”.

Professor David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism, was named by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as vice-chairman of the inquiry - led by Shami Chakrabarti, former head of campaign group Liberty - which will look into claims of antisemitism among the party members.

Prof Feldman is a signatory to Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), a group of Jewish academics who are critical of British Jewish communal institutions.

On Sunday, IJV released a statement which expressed concern “at the proliferation in recent weeks of sweeping allegations of pervasive antisemitism within the Labour Party.”

It added: “Some of these allegations against individuals are, in our view, baseless and disingenuous; in other cases, ill-chosen language has been employed.”

IJV continued: “We are equally concerned, however, by the way in which such accusations are deployed politically – whether by the press, the Conservative Party, opponents of Corbyn’s leadership within Labour, or by those seeking to counter criticism of the actions of the Israeli government. The current climate is quickly coming to resemble a witch-hunt, in which statements and associations, some going back years, are being put under the microscope.”

IJV went on to express “dismay” that “anti-Arab racism or Islamophobia” were not receiving the same attention.'

So would it be fair to say that the independent enquiry's vice chairman may have some preconceived ideas about Israel and antisemitism? I wonder if that's why he was picked?

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