Jeremy Corbyn asks Chief Rabbi and Archbishop to talk to him about their antisemitism ‘concerns’

Labour leader reels from chief rabbi's dramatic intervention in his party's Jew-hate crisis


Jeremy Corbyn has urged Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis to join him around a table for talks to discuss his “concerns”, after his dramatic intervention in the party's antisemitism crisis.

Speaking at the launch of Labour’s Race and Faith Manifesto on Tuesday, he said: “I invite the Chief Rabbi, I invite the Archbishop of Canterbury, I invite all the other faith leaders, to come and talk to us about what their concerns are.”

But when he issued his invitation to faith groups to join him, he named the controversial Muslim Association of Britain (MAB).

MAB has previously been forced to deny it has links with the Muslim Brotherhood and has made statements in support of Hamas.

Mr Corbyn added: “I want to live in a country where people respect each other’s faith.

“I want to live in a country where people feel secure to be Jewish, to be Muslim, to be Hindu, to be Christian, and I want to lead a government that has an open door to all of the faith leaders.”

Earlier Lord Alf Dubs, the Labour peer and former Kindertransport refugee, had appeared on stage at Tuesday’s event and told the audience he was “bitterly disappointed” with the chief rabbi's intervention.

To applause, the peer said Labour’s only mistake had been to not act “quickly enough” over antisemitism.

But the audience included senior Jewish Voice For Labour (JVL) member Glyn Secker – who has been the subject of repeated complaints about his conduct.

The Labour leader said he was appalled by the suggestion that any community in the UK would feel fear about the prospect of his party winning next month’s election.

He said: “But be absolutely sure of this assurance from me: no community will be at risk because of their identity, their faith, their ethnicity, or their language. I am proud to represent a diverse community in Parliament.

“I’ve spent my life fighting racism in any form, right outside here on Tottenham High Road in the 1970s.” 

In a further attempt to stem the antisemitism row, Mr Corbyn said Labour had a “rapid process” for dealing with complaints against members. He said that process was constantly being reviewed and insisted Labour supported educating people about the problem.

Mr Corbyn added: “I made it very clear in my speech, and I make it very clear again now, there is no place whatsoever for antisemitism in our society, our country or in my party and there never will be so long as I’m leader of the party.

“And, since I become leader of the party, the party has adopted processes that didn’t exist before, has had a disciplinary process that didn’t exist before. And when people commit antisemitic acts, they are brought to book, and if necessary expelled from the party or suspended or asked to be educated better about it.”

Also speaking at the manifesto launch event were senior Labour figures David Lammy, Shadow Equalities Minister Dawn Butler and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.

Momentum founder Jon Lansman was in the audience, as was Jewish Socialist Group leader David Rosenberg and Shraga Stern, the pro-Corbyn Charedi activist.

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