Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Support grows for MP Ian Austin in anti-Semitism row

Support grows for MP Ian Austin in anti-Semitism row

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.

By August, when Mr Corbyn had to everyone's surprise, not least his own, become the frontrunner, it ought to have been clear.

Last week, Dame Margaret Hodge, who is now in a dispute with the Labour Party after calling Corbyn a "racist and anti-Semite", received anti-Jewish abuse online including being called a "Zionist bitch" and "a zionist remedial cancer" in the pay of Israel.

He said: "Labour will not solve the anti-Semitism problem it has by disciplining children of Jewish refugees like Ian Austin, but by listening to them". In 2016, an interparliamentary committee accused Labour of creating a "safe space for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people".

Last month, the party's ruling body and leadership endorsed a code of conduct that excluded several of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance examples of anti-Semitism.

In an article in The Guardian newspaper, Mr Corbyn sought to address the storm of criticism aimed at him for failing to deal decisively with anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

Corbyn, a veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights and a critic of Israel, has been hit by accusations that Labour has tolerated anti-Semitism among some of its members.

"I do acknowledge there is a real problem that Labour is working to overcome", he wrote in a guest column in the Guardian.

"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".

"Today, other than another article bemoaning a situation of the Party's own making, nothing has changed. You are not my supporters and have no place in our movement". "I fully understand and respect the strong affection and affinity most Jews in Britain feel for Israel, whatever their view of the current Israeli government".

A spokesman said: "There is no trust left".

"It is unfortunately the case that this particular example, dealing with Israel and racism, has sometimes been used by those wanting to restrict criticism of Israel that is not anti-Semitic", he wrote.

We are still trying to work out what (Mr Corbyn's office) is asking from us, whether it is a discussion, a statement or a speech.

Labour MP Peter Kyle claims to have witnessed the exchange that led to Mr Austin facing disciplinary action, describing it as "far from abusive".

He ended by calling on British Jews to join with Labour in confronting the rise of the far-right in the country which was "threatening black, Muslim and Jewish communities alike".

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