Ninth Labour MP Quits Party Over anti-Semitism

Ian Austin, the ninth lawmaker to quit the Labour Party this week, attributed his resignation to the party's failure to root out anti-Semitism within its ranks

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the U.K. opposition Labour party, delivers a speech in London, U.K., November 19, 2018
Bloomberg

A former representative of British Labour in Parliament and a prominent author on anti-Semitism quit the party over hate speech about Jews in its ranks.

Ian Austin became the ninth lawmaker to quit over anti-Semitism this week. He told the BBC on Friday that the party leadership had failed to tackle the problem of hatred toward Jews and had turned the party into a “narrow sect,” The Associated Press reported.

On Thursday, David Hirsh, a senior lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, and author of the 2017 book “Contemporary Left Antisemitism,” announced that he was leaving Labour, ending a decades-long membership since he was 18.

Ian Austin talks to the media following his decision to quit from Britain's main opposition Labour Party, in Dudley, England, February 22, 2019.
Richard Vernalls/AP

“I do not want Jeremy Corbyn to be the next Prime Minister,” Hirsh wrote on Facebook of the far-left politician who in 2015 was elected to lead Labour. “He is so wedded to antisemitic politics that he has been quite unable to address the antisemitic culture which he imported into the Labour mainstream.”

Corbyn in 2009 called Hamas and Hezbollah his friends. In 2013 he defended an anti-Semitic mural. He has laid flowers on the graves of Palestinian terrorists in 2014. In 2015 he said that British-born “Zionists” don’t understand British irony. He has called to boycott Israel and applauded a speaker who called for its destruction.

The Jewish Voice for Labour group on Wednesday published a letter supporting Corbyn titled “Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is a crucial ally in the fight against antisemitism.”

Leaders of British Jewry called a Corbyn-led government an “existential threat.”