Jeremy Corbyn has publicly apologised for the “hurt” caused to Jewish people by endemic anti-Semitism in his far-left party.
In a carefully scripted video message, he also admitted Labour had been too slow in dealing with disciplinary cases. The apology came on the same day senior Jewish figures criticised Mr. Corbyn’s response to Labour’s problem, where he failed to apologise or admit his own role in the anti-Semitism crisis engulfing the party, calling it “meaningless”.
There is no place for antisemitism in the Labour Party. We must drive it out of our movement for good. pic.twitter.com/V1voY75yz4
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) August 5, 2018
Labour has been publicly grappling with a row about the extent of anti-Semitism within the party for more than two years.
Recently, the focus has been on a new code of conduct the party has adopted on anti-Semitism, with critics concerned that it does not go as far as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s guidelines.
Deputy Tom Watson warned on Sunday the party could “disappear into a vortex of eternal shame” and be unfit to lead if it did not tackle the issue.
He called for Mr. Corbyn to adopt the full definition of anti-Semitism in his interview on Sunday, and also said internal inquiries into Jewish Labour MPs Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin should be dropped.
His pleas were not addressed in Mr. Corbyn’s public Twitter message.
Instead, the party leader said anyone who denies that anti-Semitism is “surfacing” in the party is “clearly actually wrong and contributing to the problem”.
UK Labour Jewish Affiliate Ready to Sue over Weak Anti-Semitism Definition https://t.co/bRAqfsa5WG
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 12, 2018
“I’m sorry for the hurt that’s been caused to many Jewish people,” he said. “We have been too slow in processing disciplinary cases of, mostly online, anti-Semitic abuse by party members. We’re acting to speed this process up.”
Mr. Corbyn also stressed that people who hold anti-Semitic views “have no place in the Labour party” and said people who use “anti-Semitic poison” are not his supporters, nor do they speak for him or the party.
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