U.K. Chief Rabbi Deplores Jeremy Corbyn's 'Offensive' Remarks on Israel, Radical Islamic Groups

Labour Party leader's ostensible correlation between Israel and radical Islamic groups has aroused a storm of criticism in the British Jewish community.

Jeremy Corbyn at the release of the report last week.
Peter Nicholls/Reuters

United Kingdom Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis on Friday accused Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn of making "offensive" comments at the release of a report compiled by a party investigation into anti-Semitism, the BBC reported.

Rather than rebuilding trust with the U.K.'s Jewish community, Corbyn caused "greater concern," Mirvis was reported as saying.

The rabbi's comments followed a statement by Corbyn that Jews were "no more responsible" for Israel's actions than Muslims were for "those of various self-styled Islamic states."

Corbyn later denied that he had compared Israel to the so-called Islamic State, saying 'the point in the report is that you shouldn't say to somebody just because they're Jewish, you must have an opinion on Israel. Any more than you say to anyone who is a Muslim you must have an opinion on any vile action that's been taken by misquoting the good name of Islam."

Despite Corbyn's disavowal, former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks also added his voice to the criticism of the Labour leader, saying that his comments were "demonization of the highest order, an outrage and unacceptable."

The comments showed "how deep the sickness is in parts of the left of British politics today", Sacks said in a statement.

He said the Islamic State was "a terrorist entity whose barbarities have been condemned by all those who value our common humanity. In the current political climate, when hate crimes are rising and political rhetoric is increasingly divisive, this is all the more shocking."

The report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party concluded that the party was not overrun by anti-Semitism or other forms of racism but there was an "occasionally toxic atmosphere".

There was "too much clear evidence... of ignorant attitudes," said Shami Chakrabarti, the chairwoman of the inquiry