Sustained anti-Semitism in UK Labour is driving young students away from the party with many directly blaming opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn for his lack of action on the matter.
The outgoing National Chair of Labour Students, Melantha Chittenden, told the BBC that her own party’s leadership is sadly lacking in any ability to protect Jewish students or guarantee them a future role in the left-wing party.
Chittenden claims there’d be less anti-Semitism on campuses if the party leadership was tougher and it is only now she is leaving her role can she safely speak out.
“It’s stopping Jewish students from being able to go to the campuses they want to or even engage in activities they want to on campus,” she said.
“That’s very problematic and I don’t believe Jeremy Corbyn wants that to be happening. He needs to challenge the problem head-on.”
Polling shows that British Jews have been abandoning the Labour Party since the election of Mr. Corbyn, and a recent survey revealed that four in five believe that Labour harbours anti-Semites in its ranks.
In its latest report, the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that works with Jewish community organisations, recorded 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 – the highest total ever.
Dave Rich from CST told the BBC he knows of problems that have arisen when student campaigns connected to Israel have taken place.
“They [the campaigns] can create an atmosphere where Jewish students feel incredibly uncomfortable and those people who do have anti-Semitic attitudes feel confident to express them.”
Jewish leaders and thousands of their supporters took to London’s streets in March to voice their opposition to the rise of anti-Semitism in the party.
Protesters gathered outside Parliament demanding action as they accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of not doing enough to tackle anti-Jewish sentiment, and in a strongly-worded open letter told him “enough is enough.”
The crowds included a dozen Labour MPs as the Labour leader issued a statement seeking an “urgent meeting” with Jewish leaders to discuss their concerns.
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