UK Jews 'say Labour Party has declared war on them'
Party MP weighs in as its leader Jeremy Corbyn faces mounting pressure over anti-Semitism row
The British Jewish community believes the Labour Party has “declared war” on it, one of the party’s MPs has claimed, as Jeremy Corbyn faced increasing pressure for hosting an event comparing the Israeli government to the Nazis on Holocaust Memorial Day.
Corbyn issued a personal apology on Tuesday evening after it emerged he spoke at and opened a meeting in the House of Commons in 2010, which was part of a UK tour called “Never Again for Anyone – Auschwitz to Gaza”.
John Mann, the Labour MP and chairperson of the all-party parliamentary group on anti-Semitism, said it was “extraordinary” that Corbyn had taken part in a “counter, if you like a protest event” on Holocaust Memorial Day.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism has lodged a formal complaint against Corbyn with the Labour Party and demanded disciplinary action over his attendance of the event when he was a backbench MP.
The group has also referred the Labour Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission over its decision not to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) code on anti-Semitism.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews said Labour’s reputation as an anti-racist party was “in tatters”.
The revelation, made by The Times, that Corbyn hosted the event at which speakers reportedly made comparisons between the Nazi regime and Israeli policy is likely to prompt Labour relations with the Jewish community to sink to a new low.
The Labour leader said: “In the past, in the pursuit of justice for the Palestinian people and peace in Israel/Palestine, I have on occasion appeared on platforms with people whose views I completely reject.
“I apologise for the concerns and anxiety this has caused.”
Corbyn has faced increasing pressure in recent days over his response to Labour’s growing row over anti-Semitism.
Mann said he had “no idea” why the Labour leader had not done more to repair worsening relations with British Jews.
He said: “But if he did it would move things on significantly and give the Labour Party a bit of space to start to repair the terrible situation we have got with the Jewish community, where, in essence, the Labour Party is being seen by most in the Jewish community to have declared war on it.”
Mann said he believed comments made at the 2010 event did breach rules on anti-Semitism as he took aim at Corbyn’s decision to host the meeting.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “The Holocaust Memorial Day is a United Nations initiative. In 2010 the United Nations actually significantly broadened it to incorporate universal human rights.
“The 2010 particular commemorations incorporated the Holocaust but also incorporated Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, and across the country there were more than 400 events.
“MPs across the country from all parties were attending those events and it is extraordinary that someone organises a counter, if you like a protest event, on Holocaust Memorial Day.
Such an event “breaches any form of normal decency”.
Mann said he was “very pleased” that Corbyn had apologised, but urged him to adopt the full IHRA code.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism has asked the Equality and Human Rights Commission to investigate the way in which the Labour Party has responded to allegations of anti-Semitism.
Gideon Falter, the chairperson of the group, said: “The evidence shows beyond all doubt that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite and the Labour Party has become institutionally anti-Semitic.
“The problem is not one man but an entire movement which has hijacked the anti-racist Labour Party of old and corrupted it with a racist rot.”
– © The Daily Telegraph