Labour’s Corbyn denies chief rabbi’s charge of anti-Semitism
Tuesday, 26 November 2019 () LONDON (AP) — Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday tried to defuse harsh criticism about anti-Semitism leveled in a newspaper column by Britain’s chief rabbi.
Corbyn addressed Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’ remarks while taking questions at a campaign event just over two weeks before Britain’s Dec. 12 election. He denied Mirvis’ claim that Labour and its leader have been deeply tarnished by pervasive anti-Semitic attitudes.
The influential rabbi’s suggestion that Corbyn was unfit for high office represented a break from his traditional position of not commenting on party politics. He said Britain’s Jews are “gripped by anxiety” about Corbyn’s possible election.
Corbyn said that if he becomes prime minister, he wants to lead a government that has an “open door” to all faith leaders.
He said he would invite Mirvis and other religious leaders “to come talk to us about what their concerns are” and said no community would feel at risk because of their faith.
The rabbi’s column was published on the day Labour was launching its “race and faith” platform as part of its campaign.
In his speech, Corbyn said anti-Semitism was “vile and wrong” and that Labour has a speedy, effective way of dealing with complaints.
But he has been repeatedly criticized for tolerating anti-Jewish comments from party members.
Mirvis, who hasn’t intervened in politics before, said the Jewish community has watched with “incredulity” as Labour supporters have hounded Labour legislators who have challenged anti-Jewish racism and even driven them out of the party.
The rabbi also pointed out that that Equality and Human Rights Commission is investigating whether the party’s discrimination against Jews is now institutionalized.
Jeremy Corbyn has accused the Chief Rabbi of being wrong about part of his criticism of Labour's handling of anti-Semitism, as he vowed to root out the "poisonous" blight from society. But much of Tuesday's discussion with The Andrew Neil Interviews focused on anti-Semitism after Ephraim Mirvis's...