Event to defend Labour from anti-Semitism charges moved from Yom Kippur
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Event to defend Labour from anti-Semitism charges moved from Yom Kippur

Pro-Corbyn factions planned to hold gathering — including Jewish speakers — on holy day, apologize for ‘error’

Illustrative: Activists outside a meeting of the Labour National Executive Committee in London, Tuesday, September 4, 2018. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)
Illustrative: Activists outside a meeting of the Labour National Executive Committee in London, Tuesday, September 4, 2018. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

A public event set to defend the British Labour Party against charges of anti-Semitism was rescheduled after critics pointed out to organizers that it was scheduled for Yom Kippur eve.

Several of the speakers scheduled to debate the issue at the event in Bristol, in the southwest of England, are Jewish, the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported, including a representative of the Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) organization.

Organizers apologized to JVL and moved the event a day earlier.

“The organizers made an error, and after JVL pointed this out to them, they changed the date so any Jew who wants to can attend and no one is unnecessarily excluded,” a JVL spokesperson told the Jewish Chronicle.

A similar event was held two weeks ago in London. Several Jews were prohibited from participating after organizers expressed concern that they would be disruptive, the Jewish Chronicle reported. Event participants were caught on camera making anti-Semitic remarks.

The description of the event, which is being held under the banner “Corbyn, Anti-Semitism & Justice for Palestine,” reads that “Criticism of Israel is being conflated with anti-Semitism in ways that threaten free speech and the right to protest while silencing Palestinian voices.”

Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives to face the media at the Edinburgh Television Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, Aug. 23, 2018. (Jane Barlow/PA via AP)

On Tuesday, the governing body of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party on Tuesday decided to adopt in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism amid major public outcry, but also added a statement that emphasized the right to “free speech” on Israel.

The crisis over anti-Semitism in the Labour party has caused a major schism within its ranks and led Jews to express fears over the future in the country.

Corbyn says anti-Semitism has no place in the Labour Party, but he has been roundly criticized over reports of rampant anti-Jewish prejudice, for his own allegedly anti-Semitic statements and activities, and for not backing the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

Activists outside a meeting of the Labour National Executive Committee in London, Tuesday, September 4, 2018. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

Corbyn has been accused of failing to expel party members who express anti-Semitic views and has received personal criticism for past statements, including a 2010 speech in which he compared Israel’s blockade of Gaza — intended to prevent weapons from reaching the Hamas terror group —  to Nazi Germany’s sieges of Leningrad and Stalingrad during World War II.

In the 1980s, he was also active in a Labour movement that called to “eradicate Zionism” and for a secular Palestinian state in the whole of British mandatory Palestine.

Critics have also condemned him for attending a 2014 wreath-laying for Palestinians whom Israel has linked to the murder of 11 Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Corbyn supporters accuse political opponents and right-wing media outlets of misrepresenting the leader’s views.

Times of Israel staff and agencies contributed to this report.

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