‘Enough is enough’ Jewish leaders tell Jeremy Corbyn following allegations of anti-Semitism within Labour Party

ITV Report

25 March 2018 at 8:19pm

Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for the pain caused by ‘pockets’ of anti-Semitism within Labour. Credit: PA

Jewish community leaders have launched a scathing attack on Jeremy Corbyn, saying he has sided with anti-Semites “again and again”.

It follows a row which exploded after the Labour leader offered a show of support for the painter of a mural at the centre of an anti-Semitism row.

The open letter from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, says that they believe Mr Corbyn is “ideologically fixed within a far-left worldview that is instinctively hostile to mainstream Jewish communities”.

The letter comes after Mr Corbyn said on Sunday that he is “sincerely sorry” for the pain caused by “pockets” of anti-Semitism within Labour, but did not make any reference to the criticism aimed at him personally.

The Islington North MP came under fire last week after a Facebook comment he made in 2012 emerged in which he offered a show of support for Mear One, the painter of a mural at the centre of an anti-Semitism row whose controversial street art was about to be painted over.

Mr Corbyn later said he sincerely regretted not looking properly at the “deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic” picture before he told Mear One he was in “good company” among artists who had work removed.

On Friday, Labour MP Luciana Berger a picture of Mear One’s 2012 Facebook post and Mr Corbyn’s comment.

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The open letter from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council said Mr Corbyn is “repeatedly found alongside people with blatantly anti-Semitic views” but “claims never to hear or read them”.

The organisations plan to protest outside Parliament on Monday evening before delivering an open letter to a meeting of Labour MPs and peers at which concerns about anti-Semitism are expected to be raised.

The Parliamentary Labour Party are demanding Mr Corbyn attend the meeting and explain his actions.

In their letter they said: “Today, leaders of British Jewry tell Jeremy Corbyn that enough is enough.”

They said there was a “repeated institutional failure” to properly address Jewish concerns and to tackle anti-Semitism.

“We conclude that he cannot seriously contemplate anti-Semitism, because he is so ideologically fixed within a far-left worldview that is instinctively hostile to mainstream Jewish communities.”

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The British Jewish leaders’ statement said: “When Jews complain about an obviously anti-Semitic mural in Tower Hamlets, Corbyn of course supports the artist.

“Hezbollah commits terrorist atrocities against Jews, but Corbyn calls them his friends and attends pro-Hezbollah rallies in London. Exactly the same goes for Hamas…

“Again and again, Jeremy Corbyn has sided with anti-Semites rather than Jews.

“At best, this derives from the far left’s obsessive hatred of Zionism, Zionists and Israel.

“At worst, it suggests a conspiratorial worldview in which mainstream Jewish communities are believed to be a hostile entity, a class enemy. “

The statement continued that Jews faced “fundamental anti-Semitic slurs” in Labour meetings or online forums on a daily basis and “rightly or wrongly, those who push this offensive material regard Jeremy Corbyn as their figurehead”.

He was “the only person with the standing to demand that all of this stops”.

The Jewish Voice For Labour Group has hit back at the open letter. Credit: PA

However, Jewish supporters of Mr Corbyn have called a counter-rally to take place outside Parliament at the same time as the Board of Deputies’ protest.

The Jewish Voice For Labour group said they were “appalled by the actions and statements of the Board of Deputies.

“They do not represent us or the great majority of Jews in the party who share Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for social justice and fairness…

“The Board of Deputies and the JLC and those supporting them must be aware that this is an attempt to influence local elections and has nothing to do with the real and necessary task of challenging racism and anti-Semitism at all levels of political life.

“We call on them to stop playing party politics and start representing what our community needs.

“We believe that is best represented by the politics we fight for and hope to see win on May 3.”

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In his apology, Mr Corbyn acknowledged that Labour must demonstrate a “total commitment to excising pockets of anti-Semitism that exist in and around our party”.

Mr Corbyn said: “Labour is an anti-racist party and I utterly condemn anti-Semitism, which is why as leader of the Labour Party I want to be clear that I will not tolerate any form of anti-Semitism that exists in and around our movement. We must stamp this out from our party and movement.”

He added that he would meet representatives from the Jewish community over the coming days.

Former Cabinet minister Yvette Cooper said Mr Corbyn should apologise for his own actions.

She told Channel 4 News: “I think that it would be right for Jeremy to give a full apology for the comments that he made.”

Mr Corbyn said he made a “general comment about the removal of public art on grounds of freedom of speech” but acknowledged he should have looked more closely at the controversial image before posting on Facebook at the time of the row in 2012.

Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson told The Andrew Marr Show he was sorry Credit: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

He said: “I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic.”

Responding to the planned protest by the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies of British Jews, Labour MP Wes Streeting said “we should be ashamed that it’s come to this”.

Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson apologised, adding he was “sorry that people feel hurt” by Mr Corbyn’s response to the controversial mural.

Speaking on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Watson said: “I’m very, very sorry that people feel hurt by this and that’s why I think it’s right that Jeremy has expressed regret for it.”

Last updated Mon 26 Mar 2018

Source : http://www.itv.com/news/2018-03-25/corbyn-labour-anti-semitism-apology/