Corbyn anti-Semitism meeting ‘disappointing’, Jewish leaders say


Jeremy Corbyn.

A meeting with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss anti-Semitism in the Labour Party was a “disappointing, missed opportunity”, Jewish leaders have said.

The Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies of British Jews said the Labour leader did not agree to any of the concrete actions they asked for.

They want disciplinary cases speeded up and Mr Corbyn to use his “personal authority” to drive cultural change.

“I am absolutely committed to rooting out anti-Semitism,” Mr Corbyn said.

The Labour leader had been accused of not taking the issue seriously enough by Jewish groups and some of his own MPs, who took part in a protest in Parliament Square last month.

The Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies wrote to Mr Corbyn following the demonstration to suggest “areas of action”.

After a meeting with Mr Corbyn, which lasted more than two hours, the organisations said in a statement: “We are disappointed that Mr Corbyn’s proposals fell short of the minimum level of action which our letter suggested.

“Words in letters and newspaper articles will never be enough. We welcome the fact that Mr Corbyn’s words have changed but it is action by which the Jewish community will judge him and the Labour Party.”

They said the following suggested points of action were rejected:

  • A fixed timetable to deal with anti-Semitism cases
  • Expedite the long-standing cases involving Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker
  • No MP should share a platform with somebody expelled or suspended for anti-Semitism
  • Adopt in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism
  • Transparent oversight of the disciplinary process

The Jewish leaders also say the Labour leader has been slow to act on the recommendations of a 2016 report by Labour peer Shami Chakrabarti, which called for action to address what it said was the “occasionally toxic atmosphere” in the party, but it has yet to be implemented in full.