Emily Thornberry says Jeremy Corbyn was too ‘upset’ to tackle Labour anti-Semitism crisis

Posted On: 
28th December 2018

Jeremy Corbyn failed to tackle Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis because he was so upset by allegations that he was anti-Semitic, Emily Thornberry has reportedly said.

Emily Thornberry was speaking at a Limmud session on Thursday
PA Images

The Shadow Foreign Secretary said that the way the party conducted itself over the summer was “shameful”, but insisted that there “isn’t a racist or anti-Semitic bone in Jeremy’s body”.

Ms Thornberry made the claims during an on-stage interview with Jon Lansman - founder of pro-Corbyn group Momentum - at a Limmud session on Thursday.   

Former minister quits Labour and accuses Jeremy Corbyn of failing to tackle anti-Semitism

EXCL Labour criticised after councillor accused of sharing anti-Semitic posts not suspended

Labour branch refuses resignation of council candidate accused of anti-Semitism

“When people accused Jeremy of being an anti-Semite, he was so upset, and as a result he has found it difficult to deal with the problem,” she said, in comments reported by the Jewish News.

“He hasn’t dealt with it properly, but to call him anti-Semitic is wrong,” she said.

Ms Thornberry added that leaders are not “Gods, they aren’t perfect”.

The frontbencher compared Mr Corbyn’s reaction to the crisis to that of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown during the MPs' expenses scandal, when he failed to act because he was taken aback by allegations against him.

Elsewhere she said some activists involved in Palestine advocacy were guilty of “lazy, undisciplined thinking” in their attitudes towards Jews and Israelis.

“It’s not Jews. It’s not even Israelis. It’s the Israeli government,” she added.

Ms Thornberry accepted however that there was a “far-left caricature” of equating capitalism with Jews and that the rapid expansion of the party in the run-up to Mr Corbyn’s election as leader had led people with those views to join.

She added that she was "heartbroken" at Labour losing trust with Jewish people, adding: "Why should people trust us, given what’s happened?”