Leading figures back Chief Rabbi’s unprecedented plea over Labour antisemitism

Baroness Neuberger, the Board of Deputies and the Archbishop of Canterbury back his letter, which said a ‘poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root’ in Jeremy Corbyn's party



Public figures from across British society have backed the Chief Rabbi’s letter attacking Labour for its failure to tackle antisemitism and urging voters to “vote with their conscience”.

Baroness Rabbi Julia Neuberger voiced her support for the letter, saying there was an “unwillingness” in Labour to tackle antisemitism which had made Jews “uncomfortable”.

“A political party where some of its MPs leave because of antisemitic taunting, and still cannot deal with it, makes people feel very uncomfortable. The other part of it is what you see on social media, people who claim to be Corbyn supporters saying the most appalling things about Jews.

Speaking on BBC Radio Four's Today programme, Neuberger said: “If a section of the population is feeling uncomfortable because of racism, that is serious.”

The Board of Deputies also backed it. Its Vice-President Amanda Bowman said: “This is an unprecedented call from the Chief Rabbi that is sadly reflective of how many British Jews feel.

"They are fearful that if Labour has allowed antisemitism to take hold in this way while in opposition, that things will become worse if they are in government. Jew-baiters are being protected by Labour’s opaque and factional disciplinary process, while Jewish MPs are being hounded out of the Party with not a word of protest from Jeremy Corbyn.

"This is not just a Jewish issue. What starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews.

"If this combination of disdain, injustice, incompetence and malevolence is how Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party treats a serious issue like anti-Jewish racism, voters are entitled to question how it will handle the other big issues that face the country.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby also said: “That the Chief Rabbi should be compelled to make such an unprecedented statement at this time ought to alert us to the deep sense of insecurity and fear felt by many British Jews.”

He added: “As a Church, we are very conscious of our own history of antisemitism. None of us can afford to be complacent.

Labour candidate Jess Phillips tweeted: “I'm sorry and I'll do whatever I possibly can to win back your community's trust”, while Labour's Wes Streeting tweeted that he was “ashamed of my party.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid also said: “Very saddened to read this. “We should all reflect on the state of our politics.”

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