Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked challenged British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to crack down hard on Wednesday after fresh allegations of anti-Semitism in its ranks.
“Mr. Corbyn must clarify that anti-Semitic comments are not within legitimate political debate, and that anti-Semitic views should end a politician’s career and disqualify them from any future public office,” she said in remarks broadcast from a ceremony in Krakow, Poland, on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust memorial day.
Shaked was the highest-ranking Israeli official so far to comment publicly on the furore over comments, seen as anti-Semitic, by Labour officials.
“Make no mistake, the Israeli government cherishes our strong and warm relationships with friendly nations,” Shaked, of the far-right Jewish Home party, said.
“But we will not compromise our sovereignty. We will maintain our might, defend our borders and secure our citizens,” she added.
“This is an era of Jewish power. Some of our detractors find that notion offensive. But like other nations, Jews now exercise power.”
More than 50 British Labour party members have been suspended in the past two months over comments deemed racist or anti-Semitic, according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, including former mayor of London Ken Livingstone.
A spokesman for the Israeli Labour party said on Tuesday that breaking off ties with the British Labour movement was “one of the options that is being considered.”
He told AFP that the Israeli party was looking for assurances from Corbyn that he was treating the allegations with the necessary gravity.
In the most high-profile case, Livingstone was sanctioned on Thursday after saying that Adolf Hitler “was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”.
Livingstone’s comments were in defence of Labour MP Naz Shah, who was suspended last Wednesday for sharing posts on social media two years ago suggesting that the solution to the Palestinian conflict was to move Israel to the United States.
Corbyn has announced an independent review into the allegations, saying there was no place for “anti-Semitism or any form of racism in the Labour Party.”
The left-winger has been criticised in the past for referring to Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah as “friends” and urging dialogue with Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, as well as meeting representatives of both organisations.