London vote: Labour denies anti-Semitism in its ranks

2016-05-02 07:17
Candidate for London Mayor Sadiq Khan.  (AP)

Candidate for London Mayor Sadiq Khan. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - Senior Labour Party figures including leader Jeremy Corbyn are fighting back against charges there is anti-Semitism in the party's ranks before Thursday's vote for a new mayor of London and other posts.

Corbyn used a May Day rally to say the party "is absolutely against anti-Semitism in any form" after a tumultuous week that focused attention on the party's attitude toward Jews instead of its campaigning efforts.

Labour legislator Diane Abbott said on Sunday the party is being unfairly attacked by its political enemies.

"It is a smear to say that the Labour Party has a problem with anti-Semitism. It is not fair on ordinary Labour Party members," Abbott said. "Two hundred thousand people have joined the Labour Party. Are you saying that because there have been 12 reported incidents of hate speech online, that the Labour Party is somehow intrinsically anti-Semitic?"

Abbott, who helps set the party's international development policies, spoke on the BBC's widely viewed Andrew Marr talk show as the anti-Semitism debate dominated the final days of electioneering. The airwaves were filled with commentators debating whether the frequent criticism of Israeli government policies from Labour members had crossed over into anti-Semitism.

The issue flared up in the last week when Labour legislator Naz Shah was suspended for posting anti-Israel material before she was elected to Parliament. That prompted former London Mayor Ken Livingstone to defend her by saying that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had been a Zionist early in his political career.

Livingstone was quickly suspended from his role on the party's executive council, but his provocative comments led Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn to set up an independent review of anti-Semitism and other racism within the party, which was soundly defeated in last year's general election by Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives.

Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan, who is leading in pre-election polls, said the comments have made his path to victory tougher.

"I accept that the comments that Ken Livingstone has made make it more difficult for Londoners of Jewish faith to feel that the Labour party is a place for them," he told The Observer newspaper.

The party was also criticised because of Corbyn's past links to Interpal, a controversial British charity said by US officials to be backing extremist causes.

In April, Interpal helped sponsor a festival in Gaza in which students presented a skit that showed a young Palestinian pretending to stab two Israeli soldiers.

Conservative Party legislator Eric Pickles, Britain's special envoy for post-Holocaust matters, told the Daily Mail that Corbyn has failed to renounce the "repugnant" group.

Corbyn's office released a statement on Sunday defending his involvement with the group, which he said was recognised by the UN Relief Agency and the British Charities Commission.

The statement said Corbyn has supported Interpal's humanitarian work and in 2013 toured Gaza on an "Interpal backed" humanitarian trip that included a Conservative and a Liberal Democrat legislator.

Read more on:    uk

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Sales Representative- Knysna

George - Knysna
George Employment Consultants
R15 000.00 Per Month Per Month

Key Accounts - IT

Southern Shore Recruitment
R15 000.00 - R25 000.00 Per Month

Audit Senior / Bookkeeper to Trial Balance

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Placement Point (Pty) Ltd
R15 000.00 - R21 000.00 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.