A senior member of Britain’s Labour Party used taxpayer funds to silence a longtime aide after she complained about antisemitism in the party. According to The Telegraph, in 2016 MP Khalid Mahmood suspended his assistant and erstwhile lover Elaina Cohen after she posted two tweets accusing his fellow MP Naz Shah of being “anti-Zionist.” Her comments came after it was revealed that Shah, who would later be suspended by party leader Jeremy Corbyn, had written a Facebook post calling for the relocation of the entire State of Israel to the United States. In response, Mahmood initiated disciplinary action against her. When she was finally found blameless, she returned to work where she claims she was essentially sidelined and replaced. She sued on the basis of religious discrimination, leading to a settlement, allegedly paid for with taxpayer money. As part of the deal, Cohen, who still works for Mahmood, was required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. “We’re in the middle of an antisemitism storm, and I had two years of hell over two tweets trying to bring it to the party’s attention,” Cohen told The Telegraph.
Labour has struggled to shake off reports of rising antisemitism within the party ever since the ascension of far-left parliamentarian Jeremy Corbyn to the party’s leadership in 2015. According to The Times, the party’s unit investigating antisemitism allegations against its members “has all but collapsed” and there is now only one staffer investigating hundreds of complaints.
Recently, The Jewish Chronicle reported on a purported copy of an updated Labour antisemitism code of conduct, leaked on line, that sought to rein in party members who accused others of antisemitism. The document aims to “put a stop” to the “abuse” of allegations of antisemitism “as part of a factional agenda.” Some Corbyn supporters online have accused the British Jewish community and the Israeli government of pushing antisemitism allegations in order to discredit the British left.
CAP: Khalid Mahmood and Elaina Cohen