Under fire, UK opposition head apologizes for pain caused

In bitter letter, UK Jewish leaders slam Corbyn for ‘siding with anti-Semites’

Groups call for Monday protest, pen letter to lawmakers saying ‘enough is enough’ and demanding action in light of repeated revelations of left-wing party’s anti-Semitic links

Britain's opposition Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves a Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in central London, on March 12, 2018. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)
Britain's opposition Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves a Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in central London, on March 12, 2018. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

LONDON — Leaders of British Jewry blasted opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in an extraordinary letter on Monday, saying he had sided with anti-Semites “again and again” and now “enough is enough.”

The open letter from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council said the veteran leftist was “repeatedly found alongside people with blatantly anti-Semitic views” but “claims never to hear or read them.”

The organizations were set to protest outside Parliament in London Monday before delivering the letter to a meeting of Labour lawmakers.

“Today, leaders of British Jewry tell Jeremy Corbyn that enough is enough,” the letter says.

“We conclude that he 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 letter was a Facebook comment from 2012 that recently came to light.

Corbyn had offered support to a street artist whose mural in east London depicting bankers playing Monopoly on the backs of the poor was about to be swiftly removed.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson on Sunday branded the image a “horrible anti-Semitic mural that was rightly taken down.”

Far left’s ‘obsessive hatred’

The British Jewish leaders’ letter said: “When Jews complain about an obviously anti-Semitic mural in Tower Hamlets, Corbyn of course supports the artist.”

“Hezbollah commits terrorist atrocities against Jews, but Corbyn calls them his friends and attends pro-Hezbollah rallies in London. Exactly the same goes for Hamas.”

“Raed Salah says Jews kill Christian children to drink their blood. Corbyn opposes his extradition and invites him for tea,” it said, referring to the firebrand cleric who heads the Islamic Movement’s now-outlawed Northern Branch in Israel.

The letter added: “Again and again, Jeremy Corbyn has sided with anti-Semites rather than Jews.

“At best, this derives from the far left’s obsessive hatred of Zionism, Zionists and Israel.

“At worst, it suggests a conspiratorial worldview in which mainstream Jewish communities are believed to be a hostile entity.”

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)

The letter claimed there was a “repeated institutional failure” within Labour to tackle anti-Semitism and there was “literally not a single day” in which Labour spaces, either online or in meetings, did not repeat “slanders against Jews.”

Routine statements could not tackle the problem, the letter said, concluding that only Corbyn could bring it to a stop and “enough is enough.”

Corbyn apologized Sunday for the “pain” caused by anti-Semitic “pockets” in Labour and 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.

“I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused.”

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