UK's Corbyn Breaks Silence on Anti-Semitism, Stokes More Ire

A man participates in a

A man participates in a"wear a kippah gathering in Berlin Germany to protest anti-Semitism

But he said that the party was tackling the problem and that the number of cases of anti-Semitic abuse was less than 0.1% of Labour's membership of more than 500,000 people.

The Labour leader accepted that the party's incomplete adoption of an internationally recognised definition of antisemitism had caused genuine worries.

Labour could "acknowledge that problem's existence, confront it and deal with it".

In an article for the Guardian, he said anti-Semitism was a "real problem" that Labour was "working to overcome".

Last week, Britain's three main Jewish newspapers published the same front page, warning that a government led by Corbyn would represent an "existential threat to Jewish life".

He acknowledged that the majority of the Jewish community, in addition to supporters of the party, "take a different view".

Corbyn said he would consult with Jewish community leaders to try and resolve the dispute over the definition of anti-Semitism, saying that the only real difference in opinion revolved around the issue of "free speech in relation to Israel".

However, Corbyn's promise to "root out anti-Semites" was dismissed as a stunt by some leading figures in the Jewish community, who scorned the fact that his article was "cynically" published late on a Friday afternoon, meaning many observant Jews could not engage with it.

Meanwhile, Momentum, the left-wing bloc within Labour have split after dropping support for Peter Willsman's candidacy for the NEC after he dismissed Jewish critics of Jeremy Corbyn as "Trump fanatics" who were "making up duff information".

FILE - British parliamentary Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge speaks in London, May 16, 2013.

"We need to get to a position where not only have we got a very robust code on anti-Semitism within the Labour Party - which we are striving to achieve - but also which allows for freedom of speech, a discourse around Palestine and Israel".

A Labour spokesman said: "John has no day to day involvement in the operation of the LRC and is not responsible for its website or for posts on social media by its supporters".

"We must not underestimate the scale of the recent growth of the far right and its consequences for our society", he said.

The Jewish Chronicle, Britain's oldest and most widely read Jewish newspaper, ran a front-page editorial "expressing deep foreboding at the prospect of Mr Corbyn's election as Labour leader" because he had associated with "Holocaust deniers, terrorists and some outright antisemites".

People hold up placards and Union flags as they gather for a demonstration organised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism outside the head office of the British opposition Labour Party in central London on April 8, 2018. "He has taken on those people that say that they support him, even though they are anti-Semities. There is no apology for his antisemitic activity in the past, but he has hypocritically condemned as antisemitic behaviour that he himself has been guilty of". "We find ourselves asking once again for action, not words", JLM said in a statement.

Williamson drew further condemnation after speaking at a meeting of left-leaning Labour members a day after the OULC issued its criticism - this time from the Jewish Labour Movement, which claimed he was complicit "in the face of antisemitism".

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