Jewish leaders tell Jeremy Corbyn 'enough is enough' amid anti-Semitism row

Posted On: 
25th March 2018

Jewish leaders have launched an extraordinary attack on Jeremy Corbyn following the latest anti-Semitism row to hit the Labour party.

Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for 'pockets' of anti-Semitism in the Labour party.
PA Images

In a joint letter, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council said "enough is enough" and accused the Labour leader of doing nothing to tackle the problem.

The two powerful groups are to stage a protest outside Parliament on Monday evening before directly lobbying Labour MPs ahead of their weekly meeting.

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Mr Corbyn has been condemned after it emerged he criticised the removal of an anti-Semitic mural in east London in 2012.

He has said he "regrets" defending the painting - which showed a group of elderly Jews around a Monopoly board on the backs of downtrodden people - in a Facebook post, insisting he had not looked at it properly before doing so.

In a statement yesterday, the Labour leader said: "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."

But in their letter, the Jewish community groups accused Mr Corbyn of not doing enough in the past to confront Labour members with anti-Semitic views.

"Jeremy Corbyn did not invent this form of politics, but he has had a lifetime within it, and now personifies its problems and dangers," their letter said.

"He issues empty statements about opposing anti-Semitism, but does nothing to understand or address it. 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."

They added: "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 world view in which mainstream Jewish communities are believed to be a hostile entity, a class enemy. 

"When Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, Jews expressed sincere and profound fears as to how such politics would impact upon their wellbeing. Our concerns were never taken seriously. Three years on, the Party and British Jews are reaping the consequences.

"Routine statements against anti-Semitism “and all forms of racism” get nowhere near dealing with the problem, because what distinguishes antisemitism from other forms of racism is the power that Jews are alleged to hold, and how they are charged with conspiring together against what is good."

The letter concluded: "Rightly or wrongly, those who push this offensive material regard Jeremy Corbyn as their figurehead. They display an obsessive hatred of Israel alongside conspiracy theories and fake news.

"These repeated actions do serous harm to British Jews and to the British Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn is the only person with the standing to demand that all of this stops. Enough is enough."

MPs have demanded their leader appears before a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday evening to explain his actions, but sources close to Mr Corbyn said he would not be attending.