Britain’s Labour leader sees "real problem" of anti-Semitism in party

Sky’s Kay Burley was too late intervening. The Mail columnist’s smear against Corbyn had crumbled

Sky’s Kay Burley was too late intervening. The Mail columnist’s smear against Corbyn had crumbled

The piece comes after Corbyn was criticised for failing to properly address accusations of anti-Semitism within the Labour party in public.

Corbyn also acknowledged that his party had been "too slow in processing disciplinary cases of anti-Semitic abuse, mostly online", citing cases of Holocaust denial and crude anti-Semitic banker stereotypes.

The Labour leader acknowledged mistakes in the way the party had handled complaints and drawn up a code of conduct that failed to fully reproduce an internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism and its examples.

However, Corbyn's promise to "root out anti-Semites" was dismissed as a stunt by some leading figures in the Jewish community, who scorned the fact that his article was "cynically" published late on a Friday afternoon, meaning many observant Jews could not engage with it.

He goes on to say: "Our party must never be a home for such people, and never will be. You are not my supporters and have no place in our movement".

Despite writing that he was confident the dispute over the definition of anti-Semitism - which the party developed in response to the growing problem - Corbyn gave no indication that Labour was about to accept the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition, which includes examples of anti-Semitism cloaked in criticism of Israel or Zionism.

Today colleagues on both sides of the House rallied around Mr Austin, who is the son of Czech Jewish refugees and a long-term critic of Mr Corbyn.

The party said that the specific examples would be covered by Labour's wider new code of conduct.

Mr Corbyn said: "We embraced the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition in 2016".

He acknowledged that the Jewish community "should have been consulted more extensively" in drawing up the code, and its development had been re-opened to allow the input of Jewish organisations.

The differences were "very small" and amount to "half of one example out of 11" in relation to Israel.

He said this had "sometimes been used by those wanting to restrict criticism of Israel that is not anti-Semitic".

Corbyn has previously apologised for what he called "pockets" of anti-Semitism in Labour and has promised to stamp them out.

Campaign Against Antisemitism chairman Gideon Falter said: "There is no acknowledgement of his own role in this crisis". There is no apology for his anti-Semitic activity in the past, but he has hypocritically condemned as anti-Semitic behaviour that he himself has been guilty of.

"Some have suggested that he intends to adopt the International Definition of anti-Semitism".

But the timing of Corbyn's article, just ahead of the Sabbath, quickly drew ire from the leaders in the Jewish community.

We are still trying to work out what (Mr Corbyn's office) is asking from us, whether it is a discussion, a statement or a speech.

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