Labour MPs slammed their own leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Tuesday over his nonchalant attitude toward anti-Semitism in the party.
Corbyn, an advocate for Palestinian rights and a critic of Israel, came under fire during an impassioned Parliament session yesterday. The Labour leader has apologized before for “pockets” of anti-Semitism in the party and promised to discourage their growth, but a bipartisan group of lawmakers accused him of failing to do so after protests by the Jewish community erupted last month.
“Anti-racism is one our essential values and there was a time not long ago when the Left actively confronted anti-Semitism,” Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger said. “It pains me to say this in 2018 that within the Labour party, anti-Semitism is now more commonplace, is more conspicuous, and is more corrosive.”
Berger had previously asked Corbyn to explain his support for an anti-Semitic mural that enraged the Jewish community, which has signaled it is at its breaking point with Corbyn. Other Labour party lawmakers laid into Corbyn, as well, several saying they were the targets of “attempted bullying and intimidation.”
“I stand here to say we will not be bullied out of political engagement. We are going nowhere and we stand and will keep fighting until the evils of anti-Semitism have been removed from our society,” said Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth.
London’s Labour party mayor, Sadiq Khan, even weighed in, calling on Corbyn to “walk the walk” on anti-Semitism, and mentioning Jewish Londoners who were turned off by the Labour party after seeing ugly signs of distaste for Jews.
“It is our responsibility to show that we have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism in the Labour party,” said Andrew Gwynne, the party’s policy chief for communities and local government. “There is no place for anti-Semitism in the Labour party, in the left of British politics, in British society at all.”