U.K. Jewish Groups Chide Labour's Corbyn for Failing to Snuff Out anti-Semitism

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council say Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party has shown a 'repeated institutional failure' to address anti-Jewish prejudice

Leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn at a regional conference at Newcastle University, Britain March 17, 2018
\ SCOTT HEPPELL/ REUTERS

Jewish groups in Britain are accusing the country's main opposition leader of failing to stamp out anti-Semitism within his left-of-center party.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council say Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party has shown a "repeated institutional failure" to address anti-Jewish prejudice. They say that "again and again, Jeremy Corbyn has sided with anti-Semites rather than Jews."

The groups plan to protest outside Parliament on Monday.

Some Labour supporters say Corbyn, a longtime critic of Israeli actions against the Palestinians, has allowed abuse to go unchecked.

The latest furor erupted over a six-year-old Facebook post by Corbyn supporting the artist behind a street mural that included anti-Semitic stereotypes.

Corbyn apologized Friday for supporting the mural, saying he sincerely regretted "that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on" and claimed he was focused on defending the artist's creative freedom in 2012. The statement also acknowledged the contents of the mural are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic, and said Corbin "wholeheartedly" supports its removal.

Corbyn said in a statement Sunday that Labour must show "total commitment to excising pockets of anti-Semitism that exist in and around our party," adding he would meet with Jewish leaders in the coming days.

Corbyn has described himself in 2009 as a "friend" of Hamas and Hezbollah. He later regretted the statement amid scrutiny in the media, when claims arose that his election as party leader in 2015 encouraged a proliferation of anti-Semitism in the party’s ranks.