Jeremy Corbyn has issued a direct apology to the Jewish community over the Labour Party’s continued antisemitism problem.
In a statement issued only hours before his meeting with leaders of the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council, Mr Corbyn writes: “We have not done enough fully to get to grips with the problem, and for that the Jewish community and our own Jewish members deserve an apology.
“My party and I are sorry for the hurt and distress caused.”
Writing in the Evening Standard, Mr Corbyn admitted the party’s monitoring of antisemitism had “been simply not fully fit for purpose” and also suggested that under his leadership the party “did not look closely enough at ourselves”.
Mr Corbyn said he accepted that those who support Palestinian causes “can stray into antisemitic views”.
He also said it was unacceptable to suggest British Jews were somehow answerable for the actions of the State of Israel.
The Labour leader added that it was never acceptable to compare Israel with the Nazis.
He writes that "when criticism of or opposition to the Israeli government uses anti-Semitic ideas — attributing its injustices to Jewish identity, demanding that Jews in Britain or elsewhere answer for its conduct, or comparing Israel to the Nazis — then a line must be drawn. "
Mr Corbyn also confirms: "Labour staff have seen examples of Holocaust denial, crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one member who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood."
But he adds:""Anti-Zionism is not in itself anti-Semitic and many Jews themselves are not Zionists".
In a clear attack on those attempting to suggest antisemitism was a tool used by Conservative supporters to “smear” Labour, he added: “Their concerns are not smears.
“We must strive to understand why antisemitism has surfaced in our party, which has always stood for equality for all, and opposed racism and discrimination.”
Expressing regret that Baroness Chakrabarti’s reform plans were “not fully implemented”, Mr Corbyn added: “The evidence is clear enough.”