Board calls on Jeremy Corbyn to show "genuine support" for tackling antisemitism in Labour


Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush has said he is disappointed at the “less than whole hearted” support of the Labour leader when it came to combating antisemitism.

Mr Arkush said at the Board plenary on Sunday “it is time Jeremy Corbyn made clear his genuine support, instead of giving the impression he is being forced to do so by the media.”

He said he welcomed the launch of an enquiry into antisemitism but was“disappointed” overall with Mr Corbyn’s approach.

The inquiry - led by Shami Chakrabarti, former head of campaign group Liberty - which will look into claims of antisemitism among the party members.

Labour’s inquiry was launched after several members of the party were disciplined for antisemitic comments, culminating in the suspension of Ken Livingstone, a member of the party’s National Executive Committee, for claiming that Hitler had been a supporter of Zionism.

Mr Arkush urged the Labour leader to reassure the community that meetings he had held with Holocaust deniers and antisemites were “inappropriate” and “would not being holding them again”.

The Board president said he felt humiliated recently when meeting other leaders across the EU who all cited “growing and worrying” antisemitism in the heart of the UK

He said: “I can’t tell you how disappointed I am by that.”

Louise Ellman, MP for Liverpool told board delegates she “had also expressed her concern about the slowness” of the Labour leader to act on antisemitism.

She said: “The slowness however does come from a minority of people within the party.

“It was the pressure of MPs and members that pushed for action.”

She added: “I think it is vital for the board to play a role in tackling the issue moving forward.”

Later during a debate on the European Union, Daniel Hannan, Conservative member of the European Parliament, representing South East England , said leaving was the best way to protect religious practices such as shechita, and Brit milah.

He said: “It must be safer to make our own decisions especially when it comes to protecting our religious freedoms.”

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