Jeremy Corbyn's Passover message mired in anti-semitism row

editorial image
0
Have your say

Jeremy Corbyn has addressed the growing anger at Labour's handling of anti-semitism claims within the party in his Passover message to British Jews, saying it is "sometimes harder to see it when it is closer to home".

It comes as 39 Labour parliamentarians demanded that Christine Shawcroft, the party disciplinary chief who resigned from her post on Thursday after she argued against the suspension of a council candidate accused of Holocaust denial, be kicked off the national executive committee entirely.

The 39 MPs and peers said it was "highly offensive to the Jewish community" that Ms Shawcroft, a close ally of the Labour leader, remains on the party executive.

Ms Shawcroft took to Facebook on Friday to repeat her apology for writing an email calling for Alan Bull to be reinstated, but added that the issue was being "stirred up" to attack Mr Corbyn and said it "beggars belief" that the Labour leader was being accused of not doing enough to tackle the problem.

READ MORE: Ayesha Hazarika: How rising anti-semitism could bring Corbyn down

In his Passover message, Mr Corbyn warns of the rising strength of the far right in Europe and the United States, but adds: "It is easy to denounce antisemitism when you see it in other countries, in other political movements. It is sometimes harder to see it when it is closer to home.

"We in the labour movement will never be complacent about antisemitism. We all need to do better.

"I am committed to ensuring the Labour Party is a welcoming and secure place for Jewish people.

"And I hope this Passover will mark a move to stronger and closer relations between us and everyone in the Jewish community."

The Labour leader added: "In the fight against antisemitism, I am your ally and I always will be."

On Thursday night, the Labour leader was criticised by a Labour peer for not contacting him after he said Mr Corbyn was shown an anti-Semitic email he received.

Lord Levy said that the Labour leader in the Lords, Baroness Smith of Basildon, showed Mr Corbyn the abusive message on Wednesday night, but he heard nothing back on the issue.

The email received by Lord Levy read: "I see that you dare to criticise Labour leader. Who the hell are you to comment on Jeremy Corbyn?

"You are just another Jewish pig, bloodsucker living on taxpayers' money. What are you doing in this country anyway?

"Why don't you piss off to Israel? We don't need Jewish bastards like you in this country."

Lord Levy told BBC2's Newsnight that he did not know if the email was from a supporter of Mr Corbyn, adding: "But, I know that Jeremy was shown this email last night."

The peer questioned why Mr Corbyn had not condemned the email and accused Mr Corbyn of not taking anti-Semitism seriously enough.

"There has to be a zero tolerance policy. Enough words. They are just not taking this seriously. I have never received such a disgusting email," he said.

A Labour source was quoted as saying: "Jeremy was shown some text on someone's phone for a matter of seconds when he was on his way to vote.

"Of course, if something so serious had been raised with Jeremy in more than a passing way for a few seconds he would have been able to engage with it, and would, of course, have acted."

Lord Levy said he had reported the email to the police.

READ MORE: Jewish leaders tell Jeremy Corbyn ‘enough is enough’ in anti-semitism row