Labour leadership accused of ‘holding anti-Semitic views’ by senior Israeli minister

Posted On: 
6th December 2017

A senior Israeli minister has accused the Labour leadership of "holding anti-Semitic views".

Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan has been speaking to reporters in Brussles today
Credit: 
PA

Gilad Erdan, who is tipped to be Israel’s next Prime Minister, also said some people in the Labour party did “not understand that Hamas is a recognised terror organisation”.  

Speaking in Brussels today, the public security minister told reporters his government was concerned at views expressed by members of Labour's top team.

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Mr Erdan said: “We recognise and we see that there are anti-Semitic views in many of the leadership of the current Labour party. We hope it will be changed. The views.

“That they will come to the right decisions about people in their party who don’t understand that Hamas is a recognised terror organisation, that you cannot have a regular relationship with a terror organisation.”

Mr Corbyn has received criticism in the past over his interactions with Hamas having once referred to them as “friends” at a meeting in Parliament – language he later said he regretted.   

But asked if he was suggesting the Labour leader himself held anti-Semitic view,s Mr Erdan replied: “I didn’t say it. I said there are views that are very close to anti-Semitism in the leadership of the Labour party today in the UK.”

The Labour party has been dogged by accusations of anti-Semitism since Mr Corbyn became leader two years ago.

The suspension of former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Bradford West MP Naz Shah over inflammatory comments prompted an inquiry into the issue last year.

However, the review lead by former director of the civil rights group Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, who later became a Labour peer, found that although there was an “occasionally toxic atmosphere” in the party, wider claims of endemic racism were false.

Today, Mr Erdan described the review as “empty”.

His comments come on the back of a strong intervention from Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, who insisted anti-Semites would be "drummed out" of the party.

Ms Thornberry also condemned "bigoted" critics of Israel and pledged that a future Labour government would always defend the Jewish state's right to exist.

Responding to the Israeli minister's comments, a Labour spokesperson said: “Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party campaign against and condemn all forms of ant-Semitism."

He added that “the Labour Party conference recently adopted tough new rules on anti-Semitism".