In street protest, UK Jews accuse Labour leader of failing to curb anti-Semitism
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'Too many people that he associates with are anti-Semites'

In street protest, UK Jews accuse Labour leader of failing to curb anti-Semitism

Heated exchanges, minor scuffles break out, as Jewish supporters of Corbyn stage counter-protest outside Parliament

  • Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP Photo/Tolga Akmen)
    Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP Photo/Tolga Akmen)
  • Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP Photo/Tolga Akmen)
    Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP Photo/Tolga Akmen)
  • Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the  Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP/Tolga Akmen)
    Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP/Tolga Akmen)
  • British Labour Party politician David Lammy (2R) joins members of the Jewish community holding a protest against Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the  Labour Party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP/Tolga Akmen)
    British Labour Party politician David Lammy (2R) joins members of the Jewish community holding a protest against Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP/Tolga Akmen)
  • Rival protests regarding Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the  Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN)
    Rival protests regarding Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN)
  • Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the  Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN)
    Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN)
  • Rival protests regarding Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN)
    Rival protests regarding Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN)
  • Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the  Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN)
    Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN)

LONDON, United Kingdom  — Around 1,500 Jewish protesters gathered outside Britain’s Parliament on Monday, accusing opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of allowing anti-Semitism to spread in his party.

Demonstrators at the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD) event were met with counter-protests by Jewish Corbyn supporters, leading to heated exchanges and minor physical confrontations.

Members of the main protest shouted, “Shame on you” and “Scum” at the group of around 50 Corbyn supporters, who claim that the accusations of anti-Semitism against their leader are politically motivated.

BOD President Jonathan Arkush led a chant of “Enough is enough,” as he demanded Corbyn take a firm stance against those accused of anti-Semitism in the party.

“Jeremy Corbyn has failed to take meaningful action, creating space for racists,” he told the crowd.

“Jewish people are deserting the party. It’s not good enough.”

An open letter from the BOD, Anglo-Jewry’s main representative organization, and the Jewish Leadership Council earlier accused the veteran leftist of siding with anti-Semites “again and again.”

The letter said Corbyn was “repeatedly found alongside people with blatantly anti-Semitic views,” but “claims never to hear or read them.”

Protester Richard Galber, 67, said that he did not think Corbyn was an anti-Semite, but that “there is an element of anti-Jewish sentiment that’s running though the country and, pity as it is, Corbyn has come to represent that.

“Too many people that he associates with are anti-Semites,” he told AFP.

Counter-protester Patricia Sheerin said that she had come to support Corbyn “against the attacks that have been leveled against him by certain Zionist groups with links to far-right organizations.”

She accused them of deliberately “blurring the lines” between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel in order to “damage” Corbyn.

The letter, set to be delivered to a group of Labour lawmakers, said the Labour leader “cannot seriously contemplate anti-Semitism, because he is so ideologically fixed within a far-left worldview that is instinctively hostile to mainstream Jewish communities.

“Corbyn did not invent this form of politics, but he has had a lifetime within it, and now personifies its problems and dangers.”

The final straw that triggered the protest was a Facebook comment from 2012 that recently came to light.

Corbyn had offered support to a street artist whose mural in east London depicted a group of businessmen and bankers, some of them Jewish, counting money around a Monopoly-style board balanced on the backs of men with dark complexions. The mural has since been taken down.

Kalen Ockerman's mural 'The Enemy of Humanity' (photo credit: YouTube screen shot)
Kalen Ockerman’s mural ‘The Enemy of Humanity.’ (YouTube screen shot)

On Sunday, Corbyn said he was wrong to support the painter’s “artistic freedom” without looking more closely at the image.

Corbyn, who denies the charges of anti-Semitism against him, said he would meet Jewish community representatives in the coming days to rebuild its confidence in his party.

“Anti-Semitism has occurred in pockets within the Labour Party, causing pain and hurt to our Jewish community in the Labour Party and the rest of the country,” he said Sunday.

Jewish community leaders have indicated that they will refuse offers to meet with the Labour leader.

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