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UK Labour anti-Semitism row: Jeremy Corbyn in spotlight after attending radical Jewish event

Allegations of anti-Semitism within the Labour party have grown since Corbyn was elected leader in 2015.

Image: Peter Byrne via PA Images

LABOUR LEADER JEREMY Corbyn has been criticised for attending an event organised by a left-wing Jewish group – Jewdas – which is critical of more mainstream Jewish groups.

His attendance at the event, which was first reported by Guido Fawkes, follows weeks of worsening allegations of anti-Semitism within Britain’s main opposition party.

Corbyn attended a Passover seder event, the traditional meal of the Jewish festival, that was organised by Jewdas in his Islington constituency.

Jewdas last week accused the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council’s response to the Labour anti-Semitism scandal as “playing a dangerous game with people’s lives”, according to Guido Fawkes.

Why is Corbyn in the spotlight over anti-Semitism?

Allegations of anti-Semitism within Labour have grown since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader in 2015.

Scores of party members have been suspended, expelled or forced to resign for making anti-Semitic statements since Corbyn became party leader, but he and his far-left supporters have been accused of a “complacent” approach to the problem.

Corbyn has been under increasing pressure to address multiple allegations of anti-Semitism within the party, which last week saw Jewish campaigners hold a protest outside parliament.

Property tycoon David Garrard, who has donated around £1.5 million (€1.7 million) to Labour since 2003, hit out at the way the party has been run by leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“I have watched with dismay and foreboding the manner in which the leadership has, in my view, over the last two years, conducted itself,” he told the Observer newspaper.

“I consider that it has supported and endorsed the most blatant acts of anti-Semitism,” Garrard added.

Just days after the protest, the official in charge of Labour’s disputes panel, Christine Shawcroft, resigned over allegations she opposed the suspension of a candidate accused of Holocaust denial.

On Saturday, Shawcroft stepped down from the party’s national executive committee.

She was replaced by comedian Eddie Izzard, who called on Labour to “stamp out completely the stain of anti-Semitism from a minority of members”.

“We must make amends and repair the damage with the Jewish community as Jeremy Corbyn has promised to do,” he said.

Involvement of pro-Corbyn Facebook groups

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Meanwhile, an investigation by The Sunday Times into 20 of the biggest pro-Corbyn Facebook groups found more than 2,000 anti-Semitic, racist, misogynistic, violent and abusive messages.

A Labour spokesman said none of the groups were run by or officially connected to the party, while British media reported yesterday that Corbyn’s personal Facebook account had been deleted.

His professional page remains and on Friday was used to post a Passover message by the veteran politician.

“It’s easy to denounce anti-Semitism when you see it in other countries, in other political movements. It’s sometimes harder to see it when it’s closer to home,” Corbyn said in the video.

We all need to do better. I am committed to ensuring the Labour party is a welcoming and secure place for Jewish people.

On Thursday, Corbyn told Jewish News that there had been 300 internal party referrals for anti-Semitism since 2015, around half of which led to expulsions or resignations.

© – AFP, 2018 with reporting by Hayley Halpin

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