Jeremy Corbyn refuses four times to apologise for his handling of antisemitism in Labour party during interview – The Independent

Posted By on December 3, 2019

The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused four times in a TV interview with Andrew Neil to apologise for his handling of antisemitism.

Mr Corbyn was challenged over his record in the BBC One interview just hours after Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi, made an unprecedented intervention in the general election campaign to question whether the Labour leader was fit to be prime minister.

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In an article in The Times, the chief rabbi claimed that the new poison of antisemitism that had taken root in the Labour Party was sanctioned from the top.

And he rejected Labours claim to be dealing with the problem as a mendacious fiction.

But Mr Corbyn said the rabbi was wrong, telling Neil: No, hes not right. Because he would have to produce the evidence to say thats mendacious.

The Labour leader insisted he has developed a much stronger process and had sanctioned and removed members who have been antisemitic.

Protesters clashed during the demonstration

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Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism in the Labour Party

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Protesters hold placards and flags during a demonstration, organised by the British Board of Jewish Deputies for those who oppose antisemitism, in Parliament Square

Reuters

Hundreds of people gathered in Parliament Square to protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party

EPA

Labour MP Luciana Berger speaks during the protest

PA

A protester blows through a shofar during the demonstration

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Members of London's Jewish community protest in support of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn outside parliament

EPA

Labour MP John Mann speaks during a protest against antisemitism

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People protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party as Jewish community leaders have launched a scathing attack on Jeremy Corbyn, claiming he has sided with antisemites again and again

PA

Labour politicians Stella Creasy and Chuka Umunna leave after attending the demonstration

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A pro-Jeremy Corbyn protester holds a placard during a counter-protest

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A support of the Labour Party hold up a placard during the demonstration

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Jeremy Corbyn supporters during the demo

Reuters

A protester holds up a sign reading For the many, not the Jew

AFP

Protesters clashed during the demonstration

Reuters

Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism in the Labour Party

AFP/Getty

Protesters hold placards and flags during a demonstration, organised by the British Board of Jewish Deputies for those who oppose antisemitism, in Parliament Square

Reuters

Hundreds of people gathered in Parliament Square to protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party

EPA

Labour MP Luciana Berger speaks during the protest

PA

A protester blows through a shofar during the demonstration

Getty

Members of London's Jewish community protest in support of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn outside parliament

EPA

Labour MP John Mann speaks during a protest against antisemitism

PA

People protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party as Jewish community leaders have launched a scathing attack on Jeremy Corbyn, claiming he has sided with antisemites again and again

PA

Labour politicians Stella Creasy and Chuka Umunna leave after attending the demonstration

Getty

A pro-Jeremy Corbyn protester holds a placard during a counter-protest

Getty

A support of the Labour Party hold up a placard during the demonstration

Reuters

Jeremy Corbyn supporters during the demo

Reuters

A protester holds up a sign reading For the many, not the Jew

AFP

Mr Corbyn also denied that the blight increased after he took over the party, saying: It didnt rise after I became leader.

Antisemitism is there in society, there are a very, very small number of people in the Labour Party that have been sanctioned as a result about their antisemitic behaviour.

He said: We will not allow antisemitism in any form in our society because it is poisonous and divisive, just as much as Islamophobia or far-right racism is.

Mr Corbyn insisted he had strengthened the processes since a written warning was given to a member who questioned whether 6 million Jews died inthe Holocaust. And he said: Denying the Holocaust is appalling and its totally wrong. Holocaust denial is not acceptable in any way whatsoever.

But asked by Neil whether he would take this opportunity tonight to apologise to the British Jewish community for whats happened, he replied: What Ill say is this. I am determined that our society will be safe for people of all faiths. I dont want anyone to be feeling insecure in our society and our government will protect every community against the abuse they receive on the streets, on the trains or any other form of life.

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Labour peer Lord Falconer, who Mr Corbyn previouslyasked to carry out an inquiry into the handling of antisemitism,said the rabbis attack on Labour was deserved.

The former Lord Chancellor said there hadbeen a failure of leadership by the party, with 130 antisemitism inquiries still incomplete and hundreds, maybe thousands more cases that should be investigated.

At the launch of Labours manifesto on race and faith in London, Mr Corbyn denouncedantisemitism as vile and wrong and promised that if he became prime minister, his door would be open to the chief rabbi and all other religious leaders. He insisted that Labour was dealing with antisemitism allegations rapidly and effectively.

Lord Falconer (Getty)

But Lord Falconer, who previously served in Mr Corbyns shadow cabinet, insisted that Labour was still not dealing with antisemitism properly.

We deserved an attack that strong, he told BBC Radio 4s World at One. We need to deal with antisemitism properly. We are not dealing with the cases within the party still not.

The Labour peer,who put his proposed inquiry on hold after a separate investigation was launched by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said he would still advise people to vote Labour. But he said he hoped the chief rabbis absolutely extraordinary but justified intervention will be listened to by my party.

The chief rabbi said that the overwhelming majority of British Jews were gripped by anxiety ahead of the general election on 12 December.

Many members of the Jewish community can hardly believe that this is the same party that they called their political home for more than a century, he wrote. It can no longer claim to be the party of equality and anti-racism.

Urging the public to vote with their conscience, he said: It is not my place to tell any person how they should vote. I simply pose the question: what will the result of this election say about the moral compass of our country?

Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi (EPA)

The Archbishop of Canterbury responded: That the chief rabbi should be compelled to make such an unprecedented statement at this time ought to alert us to the deep sense of insecurity and fear felt by many British Jews.

And Dame Louise Ellman, who quit as a Labour MP to sit as an independent, said the chief rabbi was right to speak out.

Dame Louise, who is not standing at the election, said: The reason I have left the Labour Party is because I cannot ask people to vote for Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister while we have a Labour Party that is institutionally antisemitic.

The chief rabbis comments reflect the gravity of the situation, its unprecedented and its unprecedented for a major political party, a potential party of government, to be perpetuating antisemitism.

Andrew Neil interviews Jeremy Corbyn (BBC/PA)

But Labour peer Lord Dubs, who arrived in Britain on a Kindertransport train rescuing Jewish children from the Nazis, said he was bitterly disappointed by the rabbis intervention.

Insisting that Mr Corbyn was fit to be prime minister, Lord Dubs said: In so far as the Labour Party is at fault, its that we should have acted a bit quicker. What were doing now is the right thing.

For the chief rabbi to be attacking the Labour Party in this particular way and attacking our leader is unjustified and unfair, and I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed that hes done that.

Boris Johnson said Mr Mirviss intervention was a very serious business, while Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said it was hugely worrying that the chief rabbi felt compelled to speak.

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Jeremy Corbyn refuses four times to apologise for his handling of antisemitism in Labour party during interview - The Independent

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