Jeremy Corbyn issues apology for 'pockets' of anti-Semitism in Labour party
Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for "pockets" of anti-Semitism within Labour and pledged to do more to improve relations between his party and the Jewish community.
He issued a statement after it emerged that Jewish leaders are to stage a protest outside Parliament on Monday before directly lobbying Labour MPs.
The British Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council issued a statement saying "enough is enough" following the latest anti-Semitism row to hit Labour and Mr Corbyn.
The Labour leader has been condemned after it emerged he criticised the removal of an anti-Semitic mural in east London.
Mr Corbyn has said he "regrets" defending the mural - which showed a group of elderly Jews around a Monopoly board on the backs of downtrodden people - in a Facebook post in 2012, insisting he had not looked at it properly before doing so.
MPs have demanded their leader appears before a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday evening to explain his actions, but PoliticsHome understands he will not do so.
In his statement, 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.
"We recognise that anti-Semitism has occurred in pockets within the Labour party, causing pain and hurt to our Jewish community in the Labour party and the rest of the country. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused."
Mr Corbyn said Labour was "campaigning to increase support and confidence in Labour among Jewish people in the UK"
"I know that to do so, we must demonstrate our total commitment to excising pockets of anti-Semitism that exist in and around our party," he said.
"I will be meeting representatives from the Jewish community over the coming days, weeks and months to rebuild that confidence in Labour as a party which gives effective voice to Jewish concerns and is implacably opposed to anti-Semitism in all its forms. Labour will work to unite communities to achieve social justice in our society."
However, Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Educational Trust said Mr Corbyn had not gone far enough.
She told Radio Four's Westminster Hour: "It doesn’t, by the way, mention anything to do with his own issue regarding the mural depicting global conspiracy delivered by Jews and caricatures of Jewish people, but I think there’s something else worth saying.
"When there were examples of Labour party members saying Jews kill and kidnap their way around the world, or referring to the Holocaust Educational Trust as the Holocaust indoctrination programme, or Zionist fairy-tales, was that not bad enough? Was that not enough to make the leader of the Labour party say it’s disgusting and this has to stop? Because I think it should have been ringing alarm bells from the very beginning.
"I say this with emotion because I spend time with Holocaust survivors, and I spend time with Jewish people who are concerned about this sort of rhetoric. Our leaders shouldn’t have to be put into a corner to say sorry and to say that it has to stop,
"So yes, I’m glad that something has come out saying this is unacceptable. But I wonder, and it’s a personal view, whether this might be too late."