Britain’s chief rabbi announced that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is unfit for leadership due to a track record of anti-Semitism “sanctioned from the top” of his party, and declared that “the soul of our nation is at stake,” in what amounts to an unprecedented political intervention from a religious leader ahead of December’s general elections.
Writing for The Times, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis called Corbyn’s attempts to placate allegations of anti-Semitism “a mendacious fiction,” and said that Labour’s current leadership is “incompatible with British values of which we are so proud.”
“It is a failure of leadership. A new poison – sanctioned from the top – has taken root in the Labour Party,” Mirvis wrote.
Mirvis’s comments come after a poll found nearly half of British Jews would “seriously consider” emigrating if Labour party head Jeremy Corbyn is made prime minister in the upcoming December elections. Corbyn, well known as an advocate for Palestinian rights and as a Hamas sympathizer, has been accused for failing to address rampant cases of anti-Semitism in his own party.
According to an expose published in April of this year, Labour received 863 complaints of anti-Semitism as of March but took action in only 101 of those cases. Members who have said such things as “Heil Hitler,” “F**k the Jews,” and “Jews are the problem,” have remained in the party despite complaints against them. In February, nine lawmakers quit the party, citing their concerns over the leadership’s handling of the allegations among their reasons.
On Tuesday, Labour’s women and equalities spokeswoman Naz Shah admitted that the party should have acted faster to rebuild trust with the Jewish community.
“It is not acceptable that the Jewish community does not feel that the Labour Party is its natural home,” Shah told the BBC on Tuesday. “We haven’t been as good as we could be, we need to get better even today. We could do things differently, we do need to do much better at it and that means listening and that means responding accordingly to the Jewish community.”