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April 8, 2016 8:00 am

British Jewish Leader Attacks Labour Leader’s ‘Deeply Disturbing’ Defense of Brother’s ‘Belittling of Antisemitism Problem’

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UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn defended his brother's comments about antisemitism. Photo: Screenshot.

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn defended his brother’s comments about antisemitism. Photo: Screenshot.

The head of UK Jewry’s umbrella organization railed against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday for defending derogatory comments his brother made against a politician who called on the party to take more actions against antisemitism in it ranks.

Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews issued a statement in response to what he called Corbyn’s “deeply disturbing” defense of his brother’s “belittling of the problem of antisemitism.”

The controversy in question arose after Jewish Labour MP Louise Ellman called on her party to take more action against the growing phenomenon of antisemitism in its ranks, and said that doing so was “not just about words.” Reacting to this, Corbyn’s brother, Piers, called her pleas “absurd” on Twitter on Sunday, and added, “All #Corbyns are committed #AntiNazi. #Zionists cant cope with anyone supporting rights for #Palestine.” The tweet has since been deleted.

In an interview with The Sun, the Labour leader defended these remarks, saying Piers “isn’t wrong” for speaking out against Ellman’s comments. He said, “My brother has his point of view, I have mine and we actually fundamentally agree — we are a family that were brought up fighting racism from the day we were born.”

Arkush elaborated further on why he considered the Corbyns’ behavior outrageous. “We cannot imagine that any other minority’s concerns would be dismissed off-hand in this way,” he said. “In the last few weeks we have witnessed a stream of clear-cut cases of antisemitism in the Labour Party, which can’t just be fobbed off as differences over Israel. Most of the Jewish community, numerous Labour MPs, Labour peers, and Labour’s London mayoral candidate are crying out for the leader to take action on antisemitism. It would be incomprehensible for Mr Corbyn to remain inert and refuse to take this form of racism in his party seriously.”

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  • A Sander

    This is nonsense. If Corbyn wont do any thing positive immediately to counter act a faction of his party who a blatantly ant-Semitic, then someone else in his party should. I have never been convinced that Corbyn is not an anti Semite but then he has never convinced me on anything except that he appears to be anti democracy, anti west , a supporter of Hezbollah and Hamas and recently it has come out that in the early 2000s he wouldn’t support the motion that Al Qaeda is a terrorist organisation. He is entitled to his views as I am mine but he is not worthy to be the leader of Opposition and his neither right (Rt) or honourable (Hon). As for his brother, what would have happened if someone, for example, myself, stated that Palestinians had no rights other than those afforded to all humanity but certainly not the right to be entitled to the State of Israel. Palestinians, unfortunately are a victim of their own people. I dont suppose the Corbyns would agree on this and would hound out their party members for saying so.