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Tue, 7 April 2020

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By Hft
By Dods General Election Hub 2019

Emily Thornberry: Jeremy Corbyn aides tried to remove condemnation of attacks on Israel from manifesto

Emily Thornberry: Jeremy Corbyn aides tried to remove condemnation of attacks on Israel from manifesto
4 min read

Jeremy Corbyn's advisers tried to remove any mention of attacks on Israel from Labour's general election manifesto, Emily Thornberry has revealed.


The Shadow Foreign Secretary said "attacks on Israeli civilians were being deliberately dismissed in a way that would never have been tolerated of attacks on any civilians in any other country around the world".

Writing in the Jewish News, Ms Thornberry said she was left "deeply disturbed" by the row, and suggested that Jeremy Corbyn had been left in the dark about it by his closest aides.

She said that the 2017 election manifesto had referenced attacks by Palestinian groups on Israel, but that the leader's office had wanted those taken out for the 2019 document.

Ms Thornberry wrote: "The advisers around Jeremy Corbyn proposed to amend the language we had used in the 2017 version to remove the condemnation of rocket and terror attacks by Palestinian groups against Israel, while rightly continuing to condemn the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and the blockade of Gaza.

"When I repeatedly complained that this was utterly unacceptable, I was told by Jeremy’s office that they thought this was 'very balanced considering the considerable imbalance in the conflict'.

"Disgustingly, attacks on Israeli civilians were being deliberately dismissed in a way that would never have been tolerated of attacks on any civilians in any other country around the world."

The Labour leadership candidate said she finally "won the argument" at the Clause V meeting to agree the manifesto, with the 2017 language being used again.

"But the whole process left me deeply disturbed at the mentality of the advisers around Jeremy," she said.

"As for Jeremy, based on his reaction at the meeting, I think he knew nothing about the row, even though his advisers had invoked his name several times beforehand when pressuring me to drop my objections, something I believe they frequently did without his knowledge.

"If I was leader, I would simply not have that. Instead, driving antisemitism out of Labour would be my most urgent and immediate priority. No more suspensions, training sessions, or forgiveness, I would just kick these scumbags out of our party, the way we should have done long before now."

‘ASK FOR FORGIVENESS’ 

Ms Thornberry also called on the party to adopt recommendations made by the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Labour Movement and EHRC regarding anti-semitism in the party.

“Driving anti-semitism out of Labour would be my most urgent and immediate priority,” she wrote.

“No more suspensions, training sessions, or forgiveness, I would just kick these scumbags out of our party, the way we should have done long before now.”

She also promised to invite Lord Falconer again to head an inquiry into the party's handling of anti-Semitism claims.

The prominent Jewish Labour peer had been invited to lead a probe into complaints, but declined the offer when the equalities watchdog launched its own investigation.

And, in a swipe at Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of the crisis, she continued that Labour needed a leader “to call this evil out whenever we see it, and lead from the front in taking it on”.

She added: “Then we need to get down on our hands and knees to the Jewish community and ask them for forgiveness and a fresh start.”

CRIMINAL CHARGES

Her comments come after the CPS said it was considering charges against five individuals as part of an ongoing investigation into anti-semitism.

Speaking on LBC radio on Wednesday, Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick revealed that six Labour party members were arrested last year in relation to antisemitic messages on social media.

Five of these cases had now been passed onto the CPS to consider charges, she said.

The Labour Party has been approached for comment.

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