Published: Wed, April 04, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Jeremy Corbyn defends visit to 'radical' group Jewdas amid fresh anti-Semitism row

Jeremy Corbyn defends visit to 'radical' group Jewdas amid fresh anti-Semitism row

"It is not for non-Jewish people, in criticising Corbyn's attendance, to determine what is and isn't a legitimate expression of the Jewish faith".

Labour MP John Woodcock, a leader in the Labour Friends of Israel group, said Corbyn's attendance was "irresponsible and risky".

"I think it's fair enough to answer a question, it's not fair enough to deselect someone for attending a demonstration about anti-Semitism, because I think it's clear that there is real concern within the Jewish community about anti-Semitism". It has also opened other divisions with one of the groups that campaigned for Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, Leave E.U., arguing that Labour was uninterested in combating anti-Semitism because it relied on votes from Muslims.

Speaking in response to the criticism on Tuesday, he said that "it was very interesting talking to a lot of young people about their experiences of modern Britain and I learned a lot".

Jonathan Goldstein, the chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, this morning said Corbyn needed to stand up for Labour MPs who had been "vilified" for attending the rally rather than attending the Jewdas event.

In a tweet, Labour MP John Woodcock. a longstanding critic of Mr Corbyn's leadership, said meeting the group gave the message that "extreme views are OK".

"I take the strongest exception to Jeremy Corbyn's philosophy, his conduct as leader of Her Majesty's Opposition and, from what I have witnessed, both his direct and indirect anti-Semitic behaviour". Blair said he is certain that the general British public is not at all anti-Semitic, and that Labor had to make it clear that anti-Jewish sentiment in party ranks can not be tolerated.

Why did Corbyn meet Jewdas?

Nevertheless, senior leaders in the Labour Party appeared to have realized the damage the issue was inflicting, which may be why Momentum issued a declaration on Sunday acknowledging worries about anti-Semitism.

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The Jewish Labour Movement, who has already criticized Corbyn's relations with the Jewish community, said the Labour leader's presence at the event "topped off the worst week on record of terrible relations between the Labour Party and the Jewish community".

After the Seder, Jewdas tweeted that "tonight reminded us that the reasons we're Jewish are the same as our reasons for being revolutionaries: our commitment to making this world better than it is now".

This is deliberately baiting the mainstream Jewish community days after they pleaded with him to tackle antisemitism. "Isn't that a good thing?"

Sir David Garrard, who donated nearly £2m to Labour in the 18 months before the 2015 general election, left Labour over the weekend as the party remains embroiled in an anti-Semitism row.

Mr Corbyn has previously apologised for the "hurt" in the failures to address complaints and insisted the party does not tolerate anti-Semitism in any form.

Jewdas claims to represent "radical voices for the alternative diaspora".

Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, claimed that Corbyn's meeting was "clearly deliberate".

The Jewish Labour Movement said Mr Corbyn's attendance at the Jewdas event "topped off the worst week on record of terrible relations between the Labour Party and the Jewish community".

Jewdas responded to the criticism on Twitter, posting: "This has been a hard week to be a lefty Jew".

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