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JLC chair says 'time running out' for Corbyn to denounce antisemitism

Jonathan Goldstein responded to one Labour activist's comments on freedom of speech and the Holocaust

    Jonathan Goldstein was elected JLC chair in May
    Jonathan Goldstein was elected JLC chair in May

    Jonathan Goldstein, chair of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), has challenged Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to denounce the "pernicious antisemitism that pervades the party".

    Writing in the Sunday Times today, Mr Goldstein said that the actions of Labour activists at fringe events eclipsed the party’s ‘positive step’ of adopting new rules to tackle antisemitism.

    At the Free Speech on Israel fringe event, activist Miko Peled called for the freedom of speech to extend to “discussing the Holocaust”.

    He said party members should support the freedom to “discuss every issue, whether it’s the Holocaust, yes or no, whether it’s Palestine liberation.”

    Mr Goldstein, who has held his role since May, also said comments from figures close to Mr Corbyn, such as Len McCluskey, Chris Williamson and Ken Loach tarnished the conference.

    He wrote: “One would have hoped Corbyn would use his keynote speech as the perfect opportunity to change the tone, to lead by example. Yet he remained mute on the anti-semitism that continues to engulf the party under his leadership.

    “To the Jewish community, this is a deafening silence and tacit endorsement from a potential prime minister. Can he not see that we are deeply offended? Does he not care?

    “As we begin a new Jewish year, perhaps Jeremy Corbyn will appreciate and take stock of the harm he has caused and the offence his silence has brought.

    “The opportunity to begin anew is still there but time is running out.”

    Elsewhere, Momentum founder Jon Lansman, who is Jewish, admitted that there is a problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party in an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

    He qualified this by telling Mr Marr that antisemitism is a problem across society, and it would be “extremely surprising” if it was not present in the Labour Party.

    He added that this was the case with other forms of racial prejudice, too.

    He said: “You have to be a Jew to actually experience antisemitism. I have experienced antisemitism, my children who are only half Jewish, have experienced it.  

    “I know there is a problem with antisemitism and it has to be dealt with.

    “It incredible important to me as a Jew.  My reading as a child about the oppression and victimisation of Jews through the centuries...is what defined my policies.”

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