Labour Denies Claims Corbyn's Meeting With Jewish Groups Was 'Disappointing'

Ivan Schwartz
April 26, 2018

Len McCluskey said he understood "why there is a growing demand for mandatory reselection" as he accused five moderate Labour MPs of "smearing" the party as a "morass of misogyny, anti-Semitism and bullying".

Unite was the largest single donor to Labour's 2017 general election campaign and the party's new general secretary, Jennie Formby, was previously a senior officer at the union.

Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, has told Julia Hartley-Brewer that Jeremy Corbyn didn't seem to be making a "a serious attempt to deal with anti-Semitism".

The Board of Deputies (BoD) and Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) said there were "disappointing missed opportunities" after a meeting with the Labour leader on Tuesday afternoon.

The Guardian understands the McCluskey article was not cleared with Corbyn's office in advance.

Last month, the Jewish leadership sent a letter to Corbyn outlining six steps he and his party could take to address anti-Semitism.

Labour lawmaker Ruth Smeeth was escorted by around 50 fellow MPs to a hearing on antisemitism at the British Parliament on Wednesday as she was heckled by far-left protesters shouting slogans such as "Free Palestine".

The case is based around events at the launch of Shami Chakrabarti's report into anti-Semitism within Labour in 2016.

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As Mrs Smeeth entered the building in central London where the hearing is being held, a group of protestors chanted "reinstate Marc Wadsworth" and carried placards in support of him.

"Everyone, including all my colleagues who have joined in solidarity with Ruth Smeeth, will be looking for some strong action".

Ahead of the meeting, Corbyn issued his strongest apology to date for the party's failure to deal with antisemitism within its ranks. "It is an appalling state of affairs".

Earlier, he wrote an article for the Evening Standard admitting that "my party and I are sorry for the hurt and distress caused" from Labour's ongoing row over anti-Semitism.

Other MPs accompanying Smeeth included prominent backbenchers Stella Creasy, Jess Phillips, and Margaret Hodge, alongside Smeeth's fellow Stoke-on-Trent MP Gareth Snell. On Radio 4 this morning Barry Gardiner said it's wrong for Chris Williamson to appear alongside Jackie Walker at a rally next week, but some would like Corbyn himself to say so.

Labour has said there must be absolute "zero tolerance" of antisemitism. He added that much of the reporting around his case had been incorrect.

She said: "It is a misery and a tragedy that Margaret Hodge and other Labour MPs have received nasty anti-Semitic comments, I suspect most of these have been on social media and I suspect that no-one has actually worked hard to find out exactly who this nasty stuff is coming from".

Other reports by GizPress

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