Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Jeremy Corbyn Says He Respects Jewish Affection For Israel

Jeremy Corbyn Says He Respects Jewish Affection For Israel

Labour is in a "mess" over anti-Semitism, a senior MP has said as Jeremy Corbyn faces a growing rebellion within his party.

His video message came after deputy leader Tom Watson warned that Labour risked falling into a "vortex of eternal shame" unless it took action without delay.

A spokesman for the Labour Friends of Israel group said Mr Corbyn's words lacked credibility so long as he refused to apologise "for the many occasions on which he himself has offended the Jewish community".

Those calling for Mr Watson to resign say that the party need a deputy leader that will support Mr Corbyn, and not "stab him in the back".

'People who use anti-Semitic poison need to understand: you do not do it in my name or the name of my party.

The party was reported to be ready to adopt three of the internationally accepted definitions of anti-Semitism which it had previously refused to accept.

His intervention followed Mr Corbyn's latest attempt to soothe tensions over the row which has paralysed the party for the last two weeks.

Jewish lawmaker Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin, whose adoptive parents lost relatives in the Holocaust, are both being probed by party authorities after criticising Labour's failures to stamp out anti-Semitism.

He said: "I am sorry for the hurt that has been caused to many Jewish people".

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In a video posted on Facebook, Corbyn said "no one should dismiss the concerns [Jewish members] have expressed about what's been happening in the party" and conceded its management has been "too slow" to process disciplinary cases examining anti-Semitic behavior.

And the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies accused the Labour leader of "ideological hostility" to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and its 11 examples.

"Our party must never be a home for such people and never will be".

In a column by Corbyn published by The Guardian on Friday, the Labour leader specifically said the definition describing Israel as a racist endeavor being antisemitic which bothered him.

Mr Watson added: "We should deal with this swiftly and move on".

The Labour leader acknowledged there was an issue with anti-Semitism in the party and said people who denied that were "contributing to the problem".

Aaron Bastani, who runs left-wing website Novara Media, said: "Tom Watson the political mastermind who thought leaking the Labour election manifesto would be the final blow in removing Corbyn".

Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism NGO, responded to Corbyn's video by saying it was "devoid of any apology for his own antisemitism or promises of specific actions", and added adamantly that "Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite and under his leadership the Labour Party has become institutionally antisemitic and an existential threat to British Jewry".

The Labour leader has not conceded on calls to adopt all the examples of contemporary anti-Semitism from the IHRA in its code of conduct.

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