Anti-Semites Must Be Removed From Voting Process, Says U.K. Labour Leader Hopeful

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Labour Party leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn participates in a leadership debate hosted by The Guardian newspaper in central London, Britain August 27, 2015. Credit: Reuters

The candidate predicted to become leader of the U.K. Labour Party has called for anti-Semites to be excluded from voting in its leadership election.

A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn told the U.K. newspaper Jewish News: “Anyone who has been found by the party’s procedures committee to have been responsible for anti-Semitism should definitely be removed from the process of electing the leader.”

The statement comes after comments Corbyn made last week defending hismself against accusations of racism and anti-Semitism, saying they were “disgusting and deeply offensive”. He vowed to fight racism “until my dying day”.

Critics accuse Corbyn of repeatedly sharing a platform with anti-Semites and radical Islamists at pro-Palestine talks and events, and attracting a disproportionate number of anti-Semitic supporters.

Labour MP John Mann filed a complaint to the party last week after receiving abusive and anti-Semitic messages on Twitter from people appearing to support Corbyn.

Mann, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, was described as a “Nazi Zionist” in one message, while another described “Zionist bankers”. One message from an alleged Corbyn supporter meanwhile said Hillary Clinton was “in the pockets of big business and the Zionists.

The would-be leader is a long-term advocate of Palestinian nationalism, serving as patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and was an outspoken critic of last summer’s Israel-Gaza war.

Responding to criticism, Corbyn recently said he would not have supported the organization Deir Yassin Remembered or attended its events if he had known its head was a Holocaust-denier.

Since obtaining the minimum number of parliamentary nominations to stand, Corbyn has emerged as surprise frontrunner in the party’s leadership election.

The veteran Member of Parliament stood to give voice to Labour’s anti-austerity fringe - but hundreds of thousands of Britons have capitalized on its lax membership rules and joined the party to support Corbyn, who has served in parliament since 1983.

Large parts of the Jewish community has raised concerns over the prospects of Corbyn election. The Jewish Chronicle newspaper recently published a list of questions for Corbyn to answer over his alleged links to anti-Semites.  

The results of the Labour leadership election will be announced on September 12.

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