Jeremy Corbyn accused of anti-Semitism by Jewish Human Rights Watch

Posted On: 
1st July 2016

Jeremy Corbyn was today reported to the Labour party by Jewish Human Rights Watch over his "conduct" at the launch of a report into anti-Semitism.

Jeremy Corbyn talks to Momentum activist Marc Wadsworth at yesterday's anti-Semitism event
PA Images

The organisation said they were angry at the Labour leader appearing to compare the Israeli government to Islamist terror groups, and his failure to intervene when a Jewish Labour MP was abused at the event.

In his speech welcoming human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti's report, Mr Corbyn said: "Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organisations."

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Asked by PoliticsHome whether he was comparing Israel to a terrorist group, Mr Corbyn said: "No, no of course I'm not.

"The point in the report is that you shouldn't say to somebody just because they're Jewish, you must have an opinion on Israel any more than you say to anyone who is a Muslim you must have an opinion on any vile action that's been taken by misquoting the good name of Islam.

"I just ask people to be respectful and inclusive in their debate."

Sources close to Mr Corbyn later insisted he had been talking about "self-styled" Islamic countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, but admitted that by "organisations", the Labour leader was referring to IS as well as other terror groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaeda.

In their letter to the Labour party, Jewish Human Rights Watch say: "Mr Corbyn's remarks in which he compared the only Jewish state in the world to a terrorist organisation is demonising and delegitimising Israel in a way wholly consistent with modern anti-Semitism.

"There is no doubt whatsoever in our mind that this was an attack on the Jewish state in particular and Jews in general.

"The fact that he said this at the press conference releasing the Chakrabarti report serves only to underscore the reality that Mr Corbyn has no interest in fighting whatsoever, but pretends he does to satisfy his critics.

"Mr Corbyn in his remarks has brought the Labour party in the eyes of the country as a whole to a new low."

Also at the event, Labour MP Ruth Smeeth was accused by Marc Wadsworth, a member of pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum, of "working hand in hand" with the Daily Telegraph, prompting her to walk out of the venue. She was later said to be "in floods of tears".

She later called on Mr Corbyn to quit because he "stood by and did absolutely nothing" while the incident was taking place.

Video footage revealed by PoliticsHome today showed Mr Wadsworth later telling Mr Corbyn he had "outed Smeeth, bloody talking to the Torygraph".

Jewish Human Rights Watch say in their letter: "Ruth Smeeth was subjected to anti-Semitic remarks 

"At a time when the party is supposed to be fostering a more welcoming environment and improving standards of civility, we would have thought that Mr Corbyn would have been the first to support Ms Smeeth.

"Instead he turned his back on her since clearly, as a Jew, she was not worthy of such support."

The complaint will now be handled by the party, which has suspended a number of Labour members in recent months following accusations of anti-Semitism.