LONDON — British police launched an inquiry into allegations that some members of the Labour Party may have committed anti-Semitic hate crimes, police said Friday.
The Metropolitan Police are acting on a dossier of information handed over to investigators at the broadcast office of LBC Radio in London two months ago.
The file was reported by British media to be an internal document assembled by the Labour Party itself, detailing 45 instances involving messages posted by party members on social media and other forums.
One of the posts read: “We shall rid the Jews who are a cancer on us all.” Other alleged examples of anti-Semitic speech in the dossier were the use of slurs, including calling someone a “Jew boy” and another a “Zionist Extremist.”
Police Commissioner Cressida Dick stressed Friday that the Labour Party itself was not under criminal scrutiny.
“We are not going to investigate the Labour Party,” she told BBC Radio. “We would always want institutions and political parties and similar to be able to regulate themselves.”
The opposition Labour Party faced a torrent of accusations over the summer that it was lax in allowing anti-Semitic speech on its social media pages, including online gatherings of local Labour activists. The party has more than 500,000 dues-paying members, making it one of the largest in Europe.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that the “poison” of anti-Semitism has no place in his party and vowed to expedite the process to investigate claims.
But Corbyn has also stoked the current controversy, hosting a panel in 2010 where Israelis were compared to Nazis and defending an artist’s freedom of speech in 2012 while failing to condemn a London mural that depicted Jewish bankers playing Monopoly on the bent backs of workers.
Labour members have bristled at the suggestion that anti-Semitism is widespread in the party — and have called the charges politically motivated and designed by opponents to smear and weaken the opposition.
Britain’s Jewish community applauded the announcement of a criminal investigation. Amanda Bowman, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said in a statement that the police inquiry “comes as no surprise to us.”
“There is a deeply embedded culture of anti-Semitism in parts of the Labour Party,” Bowman said, “and Jeremy Corbyn has done close to nothing to address it, to the extent that some cases may now even meet a criminal threshold.”