Poll: Corbyn loses ground as Labour members see anti-Semitism as ‘genuine’ issue
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Poll: Corbyn loses ground as Labour members see anti-Semitism as ‘genuine’ issue

Support for UK opposition leader falls; 70% of members believe the treatment of Jews in party is a problem, but 47% believe he is dealing with Jew hatred well, or fairly well

Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wears a "Free Nazanin" badge as he speaks during Prime Minister's Questions session at the House of Commons in London, June 26, 2019.  (House of Commons TV / PA via AP)
Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wears a "Free Nazanin" badge as he speaks during Prime Minister's Questions session at the House of Commons in London, June 26, 2019. (House of Commons TV / PA via AP)

Support for British Labour head Jeremy Corbyn has fallen significantly among party members, many of whom are dissatisfied with his leadership in the face of Brexit and a growing anti-Semitism crisis that has developed under his leadership, a new poll conducted on behalf of the Times of London has found.

According to survey, which was carried out by pollster YouGov, two fifths of Labour members want Corbyn, who has led the party since 2015, to resign before the next general election while fully a quarter demand that he step down immediately.

Over half disapprove of Corbyn’s approach to Brexit and 48 percent have stated that he has handled anti-Semitism either fairly or very badly.

In contrast, 47% of those surveyed believe the leader is dealing with Jew hatred well, or fairly well, with 5% of respondents saying they don’t know.

Seventy percent of the 1,100 Labour members polled agreed that anti-Semitism is a “genuine” problem within the party.

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)

Corbyn himself admitted on Sunday that his party has a “real problem” with anti-Semitism that must be tackled properly, while also claiming that the issue had been exaggerated by some rival parties and media.

“While other political parties and some of the media exaggerate and distort the scale of the problem in our party, we must face up to the unsettling truth that a small number of Labour members hold anti-Semitic views and a larger number don’t recognize anti-Semitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories.”

The Times’ poll was released less than a week after 60 Labour peers bought a full page ad in The Guardian newspaper accusing Corbyn of “allowing antisemitism to grow in our party and presiding over the most shaming period in Labour’s history.”

Labour has grappled with anti-Semitism in its ranks since the far-left Corbyn was elected party chief in 2015, with fresh scrutiny coming after a number of former party officials accused him and his allies of interfering in efforts to address the issue, in a BBC program aired earlier this month.

One former Labour official interviewed by the BBC accused Corbyn of having “done more than anyone in modern political history to bring about the rise of anti-Semitism” and described how interference with his efforts to deal with the problem almost drove him to suicide.

The party has been subject to an ongoing investigation by the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, a government watchdog that is looking into thousands of cases of anti-Semitic hate speech in the party’s ranks since 2015.

In 2009, Corbyn called Hamas and Hezbollah his friends and said that Hamas is working to achieve peace and justice. In 2013, he defended an anti-Semitic mural. In 2014, he laid flowers on the graves of Palestinian terrorists who murdered Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972. The following year he said British “Zionists” don’t understand British irony.

Jewish MP Luciana Berger left the party in February, calling it “institutionally anti-Semitic.” Prior to quitting Labour, Berger faced a no confidence vote, later canceled, by local party members who said she was “continuously criticizing” Corbyn amid the ongoing row over anti-Semitism in the party.

According to a poll conducted by the Jewish Chronicle in March, some 87 percent of British Jews believe that Corbyn is himself an anti-Semite.

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