Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is responsible for the rise of “softcore Holocaust denial”, Holocaust expert Dr Deborah Lipstadt has claimed.
Speaking at the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) conference in Westminster, Dr Lipstadt said antisemitism that has become “embedded” in the Labour and that it has become more socially acceptable to "make a crack" at a dinner party about Jews.
Dr Lipstadt, who won a legal battle against historian David Irving in 2000 after he sued for libel when she labelled him a Holocaust denier, said her victory had weakened what she described as “hardcore" Holocaust denial but said we were now witnessing a “softcore” form of the same.
Arguing that the Labour Party had played a part in the rise of this “softcore” form of denial, she said: “You have a former mayor here in London [Ken Livingstone] who would talk about the cooperation between the Zionists and the Nazis.
“He took one little historical fact and blew it up into something that never existed, completely twisted the truth. Irrespective of how you feel about him politically, it's historically rubbish.
“But it’s more than that. It’s a form of antisemitism. That’s the kind of softcore denial I worry about much more. It’s subtly antisemitic and it's clearly denial because it rewrites history.”
She also suggested that Mr Corbyn is at best “blind to overt manifestations of antisemitism”, referencing his questioning of a London council’s decision to destroy an antisemitic mural which depicted a group of Jewish bankers counting money.
Dr Lipstadt also suggested softcore Holocaust denial would crop up in conversations relating to Israel.
She said: “To talk about a genocide, or to talk about the Nazi-like tactics of the Israeli army, is ludicrous.
"Every army makes mistakes, every army does things wrong. There are things the Israeli army does wrong, but to compare it to Nazis is softcore denial."
She said there had also been a problem with antisemitism on the right, adding: "It has become more acceptable to have those kind of attitudes, it’s become more embedded in the Labour Party.”
Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the HET, said: "Deborah Lipstadt is right to draw attention to examples in the UK where the history of the Holocaust is deliberately distorted.
"It may not seem as obvious to some, but the intent to diminish the memory and undermine the truth is clear.
"This ‘softcore’ denial as described by Deborah seeps into society and becomes normalised if it goes unchecked. Let us be clear, antisemitism is at the heart of Holocaust denial and it is dangerous - we must challenge it wherever it occurs."
A Labour Party spokesperson said: “Jeremy Corbyn has been absolutely clear that he is a militant opponent of antisemitism and is committed to driving it out of politics and our society.
"Labour has deep roots in the Jewish community and is campaigning to increase support and confidence in our Party among Jewish people in the UK.”