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Israeli Labour Party suspends ties with Jeremy Corbyn

Letter to Labour leader says 'we cannot retain relations with you while you fail to adequately address the antisemitism within Labour Party UK'

    Israel's Labour leader Avi Gabbay has suspended all formal relations with Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party.

    In a letter sent to Mr Corbyn on Tuesday afternoon he said: “we cannot retain relations with you, Leader of Labour Party UK, while you fail to adequately address the antisemitism within Labour Party UK”.

    Mr Gabbay said it was his responsibility “to acknowledge the hostility that you have shown to the Jewish community and the antisemitic statements and actions you have allowed as Leader of the Labour Party UK.”

    He continued: “This is in addition to your very public hatred of the policies of the Government of the State of Israel, many of which regard the security of our citizens and actions of our solidiers - policies where the opposition and coalition in Israel are aligned.”

    The JC understands the suspension is intended to be between the Israeli party and Mr Corbyn himself.

    One source said: “He has refused to engage with them for years so it is not a surprising move.”

    A UK Labour Party statement on Tuesday evening made no direct reference to Mr Gabbay's letter.

    It said: “Jeremy is utterly committed to driving antisemitism out of the Labour Party.

    “As Jeremy has said, he and the Labour Party are proud of our deep historical links with Jewish communities and stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters, who play a vital role in our movement.

    “Jeremy will be meeting with the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council to listen to their concerns and to discuss how to best root out antisemitism from our movement and society.”

    Mr Gabby's letter said all Israeli Labour Party MKs and staff had been informed of the suspension and that he had asked for quarterly updates on the situation of antisemitism in the UK party.

    Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, said: “We fully understand why the Israeli Labor party has decided to suspend relations with Jeremy Corbyn.

    “He has failed to respond to their repeated offers of dialogue, including invitations to host him at Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum. LFI’s relationship with the Israeli Labor party remains unaffected and we will continue our close cooperation.”

    Joan Ryan MP, LFI's Parliamentary chair, has also written to Mr Corbyn saying she is “ashamed” of the move taken by the Israelis. She encouraged him to accept the previous invitations extended by the sister party for him to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel (full letter below).

    Ethan Schwartz, the Jewish Labour Movement's International Officer, said: “International solidarity is a central foundation of socialism. It’s deeply disappointing that the fight against antisemitism within the UK Labour Party has come to this.

    “Clearly this proves that the Jewish Labour Movement’s work is more important than ever, and we’re not going anywhere.”

    The Labour Against Antisemitism movement thanked the Israeli Labour Party for its “solidarity and support at this time”.

    It said in a statement: “We appreciate that the decision must have been a very hard one, but we feel that it is right that they have taken a strong stand against the current epidemic of antisemitism within our party and the inaction of its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

    “It is our hope that this will now be urgently and properly addressed, and that Britain’s Jewish community and the Israeli Labour Party will once more be able to place their trust in the Labour Party’s leadership.”

     
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