Anger as Labour branch shares article describing anti-Semitism claims as ‘flimsy’

Newark MP Robert Jenrick raised concerns after a Facebook page for the Newark Labour Party posted a link to an article describing a “political context” to recent claims of anti-Semitism within Labour.

The article, on the Jewish Socialists’ Group website, highlighted a survey purported to show the “main repository of anti-Semitic views in Britain is among supporters of the Conservative Party and UKIP”.

It added: “This political context, alongside declining support for the Tories, reveals the malicious intent behind the latest flimsy accusations of anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

“These accusations have come from the unrepresentative Board of Deputies and the unelected, self-proclaimed ‘Jewish Leadership Council’, two bodies dominated by supporters of the Tory Party.

“Between now and the local elections the Tories would love to divert the electorate on to accusations of anti-Semitism against the Labour Party rather than have us discussing austerity, cuts to local authority budgets, the health service, and social care.

“Many Jews within and beyond the Labour Party are suffering from these policies along with the rest of the population, and oppose them vehemently.”

Newark Labour’s Facebook post, alongside the link to the article, claimed the Jewish Labour Movement, a formal affiliate of the Labour Party, “do not speak for all Jewish Labour Party members and the Board of Deputies do not speak for all Jewish people”.

On Monday, Mr Corbyn wrote to both the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews to offer an urgent meeting after the groups organised a demonstration outside Parliament against anti-Semitism within Labour.

The Labour leader also told the Jewish leaders he is “sincerely sorry” for “pain and hurt” to the Jewish community in Britain.

In a letter to Mr Corbyn, Treasury minister Mr Jenrick claimed the article promoted by Newark Labour Party “offensively invalidates and dismisses the legitimate concerns of British Jews”.

He wrote: “The suggestion that the concerns of British Jews represent a targeted political attack delegitimises the issues the British Jewish Community has with your leadership of HM Opposition, and appeals to ancient anti-Semitic tropes regarding Jewish control of the media and society.

“If you are sincere about your pledge to tackle the virus that is anti-Semitism, and if, as you say, you will never be anything other than a militant opponent of anti-Semitism, then you will act.”

The Jewish Socialists’ Group describes itself as “a socialist voice within the Jewish community”.

A source in the Labour leader’s office said the main viewpoint of the Jewish Socialists’ Group article is not shared by Mr Corbyn, although he does not oversee the party’s complaints procedures.

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of anti-Semitism extremely seriously, and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures.”

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