Israeli Labor party suspends ties with Jeremy Corbyn over 'hostility' to Jewish community

Posted On: 
10th April 2018

Israel's Labor party has suspended its ties with Jeremy Corbyn over what its chairman called his "hostility to the Jewish community" and failure to clamp down on anti-Semitism.

Anti-semitism protest in Parliament Square Protesters demonstrate in Parliament Square against Labour's handling of anti-Semitism complaints
Credit: 
PA

Avi Gabbay said Mr Corbyn has allowed "anti-Semitic statements and actions" to continue in the party since being elected leader in 2015.

The move follows weeks of controversy after it emerged Mr Corbyn had defended an anti-Semitic mural which was being removed from a wall in east London.

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That led to a large demonstration organised by Jewish groups in Parliament Square. Mr Corbyn has insisted he is a "militant" opponent of anti-Semitism and any Labour members exhibiting hatred of Jews will be expelled.

In a strongly-worded letter to Mr Corbyn, Mr Gabbay said: "It is my responsibility to acknowledge the hostility that you have shown to the Jewish community and the anti-Semitic statements and actions you have allowed as Leader of the Labour party UK," Mr Gabbay said.

“This is in addition to your very public hatred of the policies of the Government of the State of Israel, many of which regard the security of our citizens and actions of our soldiers – policies where the opposition and coalition in Israel are aligned.

He added: “As Israel approaches Holocaust and Heroism Remembrace Day this week, we are reminded of the horrors of anti-Semitism in Europe and our commitment to combating anti-Semitism of all forms and in all places. As such, I write to inform you of the temporary suspension of all formal relations between the Israel Labor party and the leader of the Labour party UK,

“While there are many areas where our respective parties can and will cooperate, we cannot retain relations with you, Leader of Labour party UK, while you fail to adequately address the anti-Semitism within Labour Party UK.”

Jennifer Gerber, the chair of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), said the Israeli party's decision was justified.

“We fully understand why the Israeli Labor party has decided to suspend relations with Jeremy Corbyn," she said.

"He has failed to respond to their repeated offers of dialogue, including invitations to host him at Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum.

"LFI’s relationship with the Israeli Labor party remains unaffected and we will continue our close cooperation.”

The latest controversy came on the same day that former BNP leader Nick Griffin said he was ready to vote Labour for the first time over Mr Corbyn's refusal to blame Bashar al-Assad for a chemical attack on civilians in Syria at the weekend.

Labour has been asked for a comment on Mr Gabbay's letter.