Jeremy Corbyn urged to expel all anti-Semites from Labour as dozens of MPs join demonstration

Posted On: 
26th March 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has been urged to expel every anti-Semite from the Labour party "immediately" as dozens of MPs defied him to join a protest against Jew hatred.

Labour MP Luciana Berger addresses the anti-Semitism demo in Parliament Square.
PA Images

Around 500 people joined a demonstration opposite Parliament calling on the Labour leader to do more to tackle the problem.

It was called by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council following the latest anti-Semitism row to hit Mr Corbyn.

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In 2012, the Labour leader protested on Facebook against the removal of a mural featuring a group of elderly Jewish men playing Monopoly on the backs of emaciated bodies.

Mr Corbyn finally apologised "for not having studied the content of the mural more closely before wrongly questioning its removal".

In a letter to the leaders of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the JLC, he also said he was a "militant opponent of anti-Semitism" and pledged to do all he could to stamp it out of the Labour party.

But speaking at the demonstration, Labour MP John Mann said: "There's one man could tonight make a huge difference to this. If Corbyn chooses tonight to say every anti-Semite will be expelled immediately. No more fancy speeches, no more promises, action is what is needed - every anti-Semite out of the Labour party.

"Nothing less will do, we have to drive these people out of mainstream politics, we have to drive them out of the Labour party. The very existence of my party is at stake - we have to win this. We will win this - every racist, anti-Semite out of the Labour party. It is time for Jeremy Corbyn to act."

More than 30 Labour MPs attended the demonstration, including Luciana Berger, who said anti-Semitism was "very real and is alive in the Labour party"

She added: "Anti-Semitism within the Labour party is now more conspicuous, it's now more commonplace and it's now more corrosive. There was a time not that long ago when the left actively confronted anti-Semitism along with all forms of racism and it's a proud element of our history and our tradition, and now is a time for us to return to that proud tradition.

"Going forward I want to be able to address Jewish audiences with my head held high. Denial is not an option, prevarication is not an option, being a bystander who turns their head the other way is not an option. The time for action is now."

Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the JLC, said: "We are here to say to Jeremy Corbyn the time for talking is over, the time for words is over and the time for action has begun."

However, a counter-demonstration by the Jewish Labour Voice claimed the complaints were being used to undermine Mr Corbyn.

Mike Cushman, the group's membership secretary, said: "If you say that you with your fascist past can come from Poland, from Hungary, from Alabama and suck up to Netanyahu and visit Yav Vashem, then you are a friend of Israel. You might be a friend of Israel but you are not a friend of the Jews."

Meanwhile, MPs also made their anger known at the weekly meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Stoke MP Gareth Snell said Mr Corbyn should have been at the meeting, and called on him to publicly denounce the counter-demonstration.