Jeremy Corbyn apologises to Jewish leaders for 'pockets' of anti-Semitism in Labour


It follows the emergence of comments he made on social media six years ago, defending an anti-Semitic mural in London showing bankers playing monopoly on the backs of the poor.

Today, leaders of British Jewry tell Jeremy Corbyn that enough is enough.

"We recognise that anti-Semitism has occurred in pockets within the Labour Party, causing pain and hurt to our Jewish community in the Labour Party and the rest of the country", Corbyn said in a statement posted on Facebook.

The Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council have joined forces to call for community members "and all those who oppose anti-Semitism" to join the "enough is enough" protest in Parliament Square Monday afternoon.

It had been said that Corbyn would not attend the weekly meeting, the last before the Commons takes an Easter break, but Vaz told BBC Radio 4's The Westminster Hour that he should turn up.

But as this debate moves forward, we must remember that the partnership between the Jewish community and the Labour party is a proud and historic one, and one which will surely survive the iniquities of a Jeremy Corbyn or Ken Livingstone.

Sometimes Corbyn, he said, "just goes missing completely" and is sometimes "condemned by his silence".

She accused them of deliberately "blurring the lines" between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel in order to "damage" Corbyn.

Mr Corbyn said criticism of Israel in relation to the "continuing dispossession of the Palestinian people" can not be avoided, adding: "Nevertheless, comparing Israel or the actions of Israeli governments to the Nazis, attributing criticisms of Israel to Jewish characteristics or to Jewish people in general and using abusive phraseology about supporters of Israel such as "Zio" all constitute aspects of contemporary anti-Semitism".

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"I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused".

On Monday, the Guido Fawkes website revealed the Labour leader is still a member of another Facebook group, titled "The Labour Party Supporter", in which members have blamed the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on Israel or Islamic State. "We are appalled by the actions and statements of the Board of Deputies".

Current Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn is a fierce critic of Israel. "We will not accept anyone in our party who is a racist".

An unprecedented protest by Jewish leaders puts the Labour leader under renewed pressure over claims of hatred within his party.

Jeremy Corbyn usually loves a demonstration.

The spat about the mural is the latest in a series of incidents within the party that's raised the hackles of British Jews.

But, Labour MP Louise Ellman, former chair of Jewish Labour Movement, said the party is in crisis.

While the forms of antisemitism expressed on the far Right of politics are easily detectable, such as Holocaust denial, there needs to be a deeper understanding of what constitutes antisemitism in the labour movement.

However, journalist Paul Mason - one of Mr Corbyn's strongest supporters - appeared to suggest "smears" are being directed at the Labour leader.