UK Labour leadership hopefuls back ’10 pledges’ to address anti-Semitism
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UK Labour leadership hopefuls back ’10 pledges’ to address anti-Semitism

Leading candidates to replace Corbyn commit to dealing with cases of Jew hatred in party, adopting IHRA definition in full

Keir Starmer (L) Rebecca Long-Bailey of the UK Labour Party arrive at the cabinet office for Brexit talks in London, April 9, 2019. (Niklas Halle'n/AFP)
Keir Starmer (L) Rebecca Long-Bailey of the UK Labour Party arrive at the cabinet office for Brexit talks in London, April 9, 2019. (Niklas Halle'n/AFP)

Top leadership candidates for the UK Labour Party have backed proposals by the Board of Deputies of British Jews to address anti-Semitism in the party.

The Board of Deputies on Sunday released its “Ten Pledges to End the Antisemitism Crisis,” which it said were needed after ties between Labour and British Jews were “all but destroyed” under party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn, who was accused of failing to deal with hundreds of incidents of anti-Semitism within Labour, said he would step down as party leader after the party suffered its worst electoral showing in general elections last month since the 1930s.

Among those seeking to replace Corbyn who have backed the pledges are Rebecca Long-Bailey, Emily Thornberry and Keir Starmer, according to the Guardian. All three were members of the shadow cabinet.

Leadership hopefuls Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips also supported the pledges, as have deputy leadership candidates Rosena Allin-Khan and Ian Murray.

The pledges include a commitment to resolve outstanding cases involving accusations of anti-Jewish bigotry against party members, as well as to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism “without qualifications.”

Labour adopted the definition in 2018 as criticism grew over its handling of anti-Semitism in its rank but added a “free speech” clause on Israel, drawing further fire from Jewish groups.

Starmer, considered the front-runner in the race to replace Corbyn, promised Saturday to lead the struggle against rampant anti-Semitism within the party.

Speaking on BBC Radio, Starmer said: “We should have done more on anti-Semitism. If you are anti-Semitic you shouldn’t be in the Labour party. It is not complicated.”

Starmer said that in internal discussions he had advocated automatic expulsion for those found guilty of anti-Semitism.

In an interview Sunday with Sky News, Long-Bailey pointed the finger at Corbyn for not tackling the issue.

“He does [bear personal responsibility] and he’s apologized and I think any Labour politician that leads the Labour Party should apologize again for what has happened because it has been unacceptable,” she said.

During the interview, Long-Bailey said the party has to “work very hard and very robustly… to repair our relationship with the Jewish community.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in Islington, north London, December 16, 2019. (Isabel Infantes/PA via AP)

British Jews deserted the party in droves during the December elections because they believed that Labour had become institutionally anti-Semitic under Corbyn, a pro-Palestinian politician who was elected to lead the party in 2015.

Corbyn has been accused of failing to deal with hundreds of incidents of anti-Semitism within his party, as well as his reluctance for the party to agree to a definition of anti-Semitism that included some anti-Israel language.

His ties to members of the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups and photos of him laying a wreath at the grave of a Palestinian terrorist also sparked worries among UK Jews and Israelis, who feared that the Jewish state could lose its close alliance with the UK if Corbyn won.

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