UK Jewish leaders said set to tell Corbyn: Oust Livingstone, ‘drain the sewer’
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UK Jewish leaders said set to tell Corbyn: Oust Livingstone, ‘drain the sewer’

Board of Deputies reportedly drafting list of demands to present to Labour leader after he promised to rid party of anti-Semitism

Composite image of the leader of Britain's Labout Party Jeremy Corbyn (L) seen on March 9, 2018 and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone seen March 18, 2008. (AP)
Composite image of the leader of Britain's Labout Party Jeremy Corbyn (L) seen on March 9, 2018 and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone seen March 18, 2008. (AP)

British Jewish leaders are reportedly set to request Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn permanently kick out London’s controversial ex-Mayor Ken Livingstone from the party as part of his renewed pledge to rid anti-Semitism from Labour’s ranks.

The request to oust Livingstone is at the top of a list of demands that Jewish community leaders intend to present to Corbyn at an upcoming meeting in order to drain “the political sewer,” according to a Tuesday report in The Guardian.

“Ken Livingstone really cannot remain. His views are shameful and disreputable. He will have to go,” Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Board of Deputies, told anti-Semitism campaigners at a Monday rally, according to the report.

Labour suspended Livingstone in April 2016 after he claimed that Adolf Hitler was initially a supporter of Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews.” Earlier this month, the party extended his 2-year suspension pending the results of an internal investigation.

At the meeting, which has not yet been set, the Jewish leaders will also reportedly urge Corbyn to kick out Jackie Walker, the former vice-chair of Corbyn’s re-election campaign, who has also been suspended for making anti-Semitic remarks.

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)

On Monday, Corbyn vowed that Labour would have “zero tolerance” for anti-Semitism, after Jewish groups accused him of failing to stamp out anti-Jewish prejudice within the party.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council said that Corbyn’s Labour Party has shown a “repeated institutional failure” to address anti-Semitism.

In an open letter, they said that “again and again, Jeremy Corbyn has sided with anti-Semites rather than Jews.”

Some 1,500 protesters rallied outside the British parliament Monday, in an unprecedented rally organized by the usually publicity-averse Anglo-Jewish leadership, bearing signs reading “no to anti-Semitism,” as pressure ramped up on the party and its leader.

In a statement issued Monday as the protesters began to gather, Corbyn pledged to be “a militant opponent of anti-Semitism,” telling the Jewish community: “In this fight, I am your ally and always will be.”

Allegations of Labour anti-Semitism have grown since Corbyn, a pro-Palestinian socialist, was elected leader of Britain’s main opposition party in 2015.

Some in the party say Corbyn, a longtime critic of Israeli actions against the Palestinians, has allowed abuse to go unchecked.

The latest furor erupted over a six-year-old Facebook post by Corbyn supporting the artist behind a street mural that included anti-Semitic stereotypes.

Corbyn has said he regrets not looking closely at the “deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic” mural before offering support to the artist.

Corbyn wrote that “anti-Semitic attitudes have surfaced more often in our ranks in recent years, and that the party has been too slow in processing some of the cases that have emerged.”

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

He said he was “sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused,” and vowed Labour would have “zero tolerance for anti-Semites.”

Agencies contributed to this report.

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