Three lawmakers leave British Labour Party over anti-Semitism

Three lawmakers leave British Labour Party over anti-Semitism

David Triesman, Leslie Arnold Turnberg, both Jewish, and Armenian Ara Darzi step down, saying movement ‘very plainly institutionally anti-Semitic’

David Triesman, shown in 2010. (Sang Tan/PA Images via Getty Images via JTA)
David Triesman, shown in 2010. (Sang Tan/PA Images via Getty Images via JTA)

JTA — Three lawmakers have resigned from Britain’s Labour party over its spiraling anti-Semitism problem.

David Triesman and Leslie Arnold Turnberg, who are Jewish, and Ara Darzi, who is Armenian, announced on Tuesday their resignation from Labour. They will stay on as independents in the House of Lords, the upper house.

The party was no longer “a safe environment” for Jewish people, Triesman wrote in his resignation letter, which came amid growing conflict inside Labour over external scrutiny of the proliferation of anti-Semitic hate in the party’s ranks. “My sad conclusion is that the Labour party is very plainly institutionally anti-Semitic,” he added.

Triesman, 75, is a former general secretary of Labour who has been a party member for more than 50 years.

As “an Armenian survivor of the Armenian genocide,” wrote Darzi, in his resignation letter, he has no tolerance for any “discrimination against religion or race.”

Ara Darzi, at the time Britain Health Minister, at the University of London’s Imperial College in London, July 14, 2009. (Sang Tan/AP/File)

Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, a far-left politician who was elected its leader in 2015, is under investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the British government’s watchdog on racism, for its handling of thousands of complaints and incidents involving hate speech and, in some cases, hate crimes.

Hundreds of Labour members, including some 20 lawmakers, have left Labour over what they called tolerance of anti-Semitism.

Corbyn’s supporters have dismissed the charges and allegations that the problem owes to Corbyn’s anti-Israel stance. In 2009, he called Hezbollah and Hamas his friends, adding that the Hamas is “an organization that is dedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people and bringing about peace and social justice.”

Among his prominent critics in Labour was Luciana Berger, a Jewish politician from Liverpool who left Labour over anti-Semitism in February and joined the centrist group Change UK. Berger has since left the group amid policy disagreements and serves as an independent lawmaker in the House of Commons.

The resignations come as a BBC TV’s Panorama investigation is set to air on Wednesday and is expected to be critical of Labour and feature further evidence that Corbyn advisers intervened in disciplinary procedures to protect members accused of anti-Semitism. The exposé will also feature interviews with “key insiders,” according to a preview.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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