Communal groups planning Westminster gathering to protest Corbyn

Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies will also deliver a letter to a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting


Communal leaders are planning to deliver a letter to Jeremy Corbyn condemning his “systematic failure to understand and deal with antisemitism” before tomorrow’s meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

In a joint announcement, the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and the Board of Deputies encouraged “concerned members of the Jewish community” to gather in Parliament Square in Westminster, central London, at 5.30pm on Monday evening.

The group will then make its way to the meeting, which starts at 6pm, to deliver the letter.

The Labour Party was involved in a fresh row on Friday after the party leader admitted he was wrong to offer support to the creator of an East London mural which displayed recognisable antisemitic tropes.

The piece, titled Freedom for Humanity, depicted a group of apparently Jewish bankers playing Monopoly, with the board resting on the backs of several hunched, naked workers.

It was scrubbed from a wall near Brick Lane after the then-Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman said “the images of the bankers perpetuate antisemitic propaganda about conspiratorial Jewish domination of financial and political institutions”.

In 2012 Mr Corbyn posted a message of support on the Facebook page of the artist, Mear One, comparing it to the removal from New York City’s Rockefeller Center of Man at the Crossroads, a Diego Rivera fresco, because it depicted Vladimir Lenin.

The story was first reported by the JC in 2015, and the issue resurfaced this week after Luciana Berger, the Jewish MP for Liverpool Wavertree, quizzed Mr Corbyn's office on it.

After initially arguing that he had defended the artist on the grounds of freedom of speech, Mr Corbyn’s office released a second statement saying he regretted not looking more closely at the image.

Today the Board and the JLC condemned Mr Corbyn’s record on antisemitism, saying the latest incident is “yet another repeat of what we have seen so many times before”.

They added: “The Jewish community has had enough of repeatedly witnessing and condemning instances of antisemitism in and around the Labour Party.

“(Mr Corbyn) never sees or understands the antisemitism, whether it is from overseas terrorist groups or local Facebook groups. Now, he belatedly acknowledges a mural was antisemitic.

“Like so much else in this area, it is far too little, far too late, with no serious attempt to understand or tackle the damage to Jews and the Labour Party.”

The Labour leader later apologised for the "pain and hurt" caused to the community, and promised to meet its representative figures this week.

Earlier Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, and the party’s shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, appeared on Sunday morning TV programmes to condemn the mural.

In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Mr Watson said: “I’m very, very sorry that people feel hurt by this and that’s why I think it’s right that Jeremy has expressed regret for it.”

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