Jewish groups call Corbyn anti-Semitism meeting 'disappointing'

Danny Woods
April 25, 2018

Jewish community leaders in Britain said their talks on Tuesday with opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on how to end anti-Semitism in his party had been a "disappointing missed opportunity".

"We will lay out the further steps we are taking in the coming weeks", he added, pledging to "continue to engage and work with Jewish community organisations".

Following a meeting that lasted more than two hours, Jonathan Arkush and Jonathan Goldstein, the respective.

The leaders called for action against former London mayor Ken Livingstone to be speeded up, and said "words in letters and newspaper articles will never be enough".

Since unexpectedly becoming Labour leader in 2015 after decades spent on the left-wing fringes of the party, Corbyn has repeatedly faced accusations of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitic comments in the party and among groups he supports.

They had written to the Labour leader last month setting out six areas of "concrete action" to help address what they see as hostility to Jews within the party and indifference to the issue from its leadership.

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In his Evening Standard article, Mr Corbyn said that anti-Zionism was not in itself anti-Semitic but he acknowledged that "individuals on the fringes of the movement of solidarity with the Palestinian people can stray into anti-Semitic views". When members of Jewish communities express genuine anxieties, we must recognise them as we would those of any other community.

But in their statement, they said: "We are disappointed that Mr Corbyn's proposals fell short of the minimum level of action which our letter suggested".

"I have charged our new general secretary Jennie Formby with improving our disciplinary procedures as her top priority to ensure all complaints are dealt with swiftly and fairly".

A debate in parliament last week underlined the depth of the criticism directed toward Corbyn over anti-Semitism, where members of his own party described in powerful terms the depths of the abuse they and Jewish friends were experiencing.

"My party and I are sorry for the hurt and distress caused", he said. Jewish groups had said they would boycott it amid concerns about the inclusion of the pro-Corbyn group Jewish Voice for Labour.

Supporters of Corbyn have claimed the row has been stoked up by his opponents to damage him.

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