British Jewish leader accuses Labour chair Corbyn of belittling anti-Semitism problem

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A leader of British Jews accused Labour Chairman Jeremy Corbyn of belittling the party’s alleged anti-Semitism problem.

Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, leveled the accusation in a statement Thursday, the Jewish News of London reported.

“We cannot imagine that any other minority’s concerns would be dismissed off-hand in this way,” he said, adding he was “deeply concerned” over Labour’s handling of Jew hatred in its ranks. “In the last few weeks we have witnessed a stream of clear-cut cases of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, which can’t just be fobbed off as differences over Israel,” he said.

Arkush’s accusation came after Corbyn defended a remark that his brother made, in which his brother, Piers, dismissed  allegations that Labour was not properly handing anti-Semitism as “absurd,” adding  by that “Zionists can’t cope with anyone supporting rights for Palestine.”


Asked for a reaction on this by The Sun, Jeremy Corbyn said: “No, my brother isn’t wrong. My brother has his point of view, I have mine and we actually fundamentally agree — we are a family that were brought up fighting racism from the day we were born. We’re opposed to any form of racism and we are investigating allegations of anti-Semitism, but I wouldn’t call it a crisis, we are a party are taking resolute action.”

Piers Corbyn made the remark on Twitter following a Sky News interview with Louise Ellman, a Jewish Labour lawmaker, who said party members are allowed to “get away” with anti-Semitic statements. And while Corbyn has spoken out against this, she added, “there has got to be some action.”

Last month, Arkush said Jews can no longer trust the party, listing recent cases of alleged anti-Semitism under Corbyn, a hardcore socialist who has alienated many Jews, including Labour supporters, with his endorsement of anti-Semitic enemies of Israel, including the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

Since his election to head Labour in September, it has seen a string of scandals involving alleged anti-Semitism, including at its Oxford University chapter, which is now the subject of a party probe. Last week, Labour activist Bob Campbell said on Facebook that the ISIS terrorist group is run by Israel. He was reported to have been suspended as a party member, though he has denied this indeed occurred.

Separately, a Labour lawmaker in Parliament, Vicki Kirby, was suspended this week after it was revealed she suggested in a series of social media posts saying that Adolf Hitler might be a “Zionist god” and Jews have “big noses,” and asking why ISIS was not attacking Israel.

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