Jeremy Corbyn was called a "liar" during his speech at the Jewish Labour Movement’s Chanukah party on Wednesday night, after he said there was "zero tolerance" of antisemitism within the Labour Party.
Mr Corbyn told a crowded room at the party’s headquarters in central London: “I’m here because I want the party to be strong in all areas, I want the Jewish Labour Movement to be absolutely part of and involved with the party at all levels."
Prior to Mr Corbyn’s speech, a plea had been made for all those in the room to treat each other in a comradely spirit. However, at this point a female heckler responded with the words: "But you hate us".
During the Labour leader's speech, the same heckler shouted: “Corbyn, you’re a liar”, before reportedly being removed from the room.
“The issues of racism in our society are serious. The issues of antisemitism are very, very serious indeed”, Mr Corbyn continued.
“That’s why I asked Shami Chakrabarti… to undertake an investigation and a report. It’s why we have achieved by very broad consensus a rule change in the party which has gone through, and why we have an investigative process for any claims of antisemitism against anyone in the party.
“There is zero tolerance of antisemtism in the Labour Party, and that is how it must remain,” he continued, to applause. However, a male heckler then shouted: “What about Ken?”
Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, was suspended from the Labour Party after making comments about “Hitler…supporting Zionism, before he went mad”. After almost a year-long suspension, the party’s National Constitutional Council ruled that he would not be expelled from the party but merely suspended for another year. During his hearing, Mr Livingstone made further inflammatory comments about Nazism and Zionism, which have been contested by a number of serious historians.
Other speakers at the Chanukah party included Iain McNicol, the General Secretary of the Labour Party, as well as Jeremy Newmark, the chair of the JLM, and Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, senior rabbi to Reform Judaism. Luciana Berger, the parliamentary chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, was unable to attend, but Ella Rose, JLM’s national director, spoke on her behalf.
Mr Newmark told the room that “the fight against antisemitism matters, but it must never define who we are, because we are not victims.
"I didn’t stand for election nearly two years ago as chair of JLM to allow myself or this wonderful movement to be defined by that fight against antisemitism. Because we are about so much more.”