Jewish Leaders Tell British Labour Leader They're Sick of Antisemitism, Says Jeremy Corbyn Is Hostile to Mainstream Jewish Communities

Jewish leaders in Britain have accused the leader of the center-left Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, of being the figurehead of anti-Semitism and an apologist for slanderous attacks on Jews.

In an open letter written by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, Jewish leaders argued that Corbyn and his party ignore the mainstream majority of British Jews. The leaders also claimed that Corbyn is so fixated on leftist politics that he supports international figures who espouse anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiment, and that he has consequently become the leader of a political culture "based on obsessive hatred of Israel."

"We conclude that [Corbyn] cannot seriously contemplate anti-Semitism, because he is so ideologically fixed within a far-left worldview that is instinctively hostile to mainstream Jewish communities," the letter read.

"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-Hizbollah 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 at the House of Commons," the letter continued.

"These are not the only cases. He is repeatedly found alongside people with blatantly anti-Semitic views, but claims never to hear or read them," the document added.

NEW: Full text of statement from @BoardofDeputies and Jewish Leadership Council accusing Jeremy Corbyn of siding with antisemites over Jewish people and stating “enough is enough”. Tonight Corbyn said sorry for antisemitism in the party but they are standing by statement.

— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) March 25, 2018

The letter also slammed the Shami Chakrabarti inquiry, a 2016 report that looked into allegations of antisemitism and racism in the U.K.'s Labour Party.

"The Labour Party is not overrun by antisemitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism. Further, it is the party that initiated every single United Kingdom race equality law," the report found.

In their letter published Monday, Britain's Jewish leaders called the inquiry a glaring example of a "repeated institutional failure to properly address Jewish concerns and to tackle anti-Semitism."

Some people in Britain, however, speculated that these accusations are unfounded.

"To suggest the Labour Party and Corbyn have done nothing about antisemitism is patently untrue. A motion on the subject by the Jewish Labour Movement was backed by Corbyn and Momentum, and passed at conference," Luke Wilson, a Jewish Labour supporter in London, told Newsweek. "Hundreds of activists, if not more, have been suspended or expelled from the Party, often without due process, for saying things that would stretch any reasonable definition of antisemitism."

Labour is an anti-racist party and I utterly condemn antisemitism, which is why as leader of the Labour Party I want to be clear that I will not tolerate any form of antisemitism that exists in and around our movement.

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) March 25, 2018

What's more, Wilson argued that the accusations of antisemitism against Corbyn only work to undermine efforts to fight real antisemitism.

"The real damage caused by these stunts is not to the Labour Party, but to the Jewish community. By abusing the term [antisemitism] for political gain, by trivialising it and conflating it with criticism of Israel... the Jewish self-appointed leadership risks desensitising the public to real antisemitism," Wilson said.

Some anti-Corbyn protesters demonstrated outside a meeting of Labour parliamentarians on Monday. The pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice for Labour is organizing a counter-protest. One self-professed anti-racist activist wrote an open letter to the British paper the Independent, defending Corbyn's political career.

"I am not a member of The Labour Party but have been committed to anti-racist activism for over 40 years. Jeremy Corbyn has spent his political life in absolute opposition to racism in whatever filthy form it manifests itself, and not just with words," the letter, written by a man named Sasha Simic, claimed.

"On the 23 April 1977 Jeremy Corbyn, then a councillor in Haringey, joined a 12,000-strong anti-Nazi demonstration which stopped the fascist National Front marching through Wood Green," Simic continued.

Corbyn also responded to the accusations with a message posted to his Facebook and Twitter accounts claiming that "I utterly condemn antisemitism."

"We recognise that antisemitism 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. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused," Corbyn's statement read.

"Our party has deep roots in the Jewish community and is actively engaged with Jewish organisations across the country," the message continued.