Tory MP Lashes out at Labour Leader Corbyn; Calls Level of Antisemitism Report Childlike
A Tory MP in the UK lashed out at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Monday, ridiculing his party’s investigation into antisemitism within its ranks.
“It feels like a report that would have been written for some children to understand what is and isn’t antisemitic and racist,” said Nusrat Ghani to Corbyn, during his questioning by the Home Affairs Select Committee over Labour’s antisemitism inquiry, which concluded that while there is an “occasionally toxic atmosphere” within the party, it is “not overrun by antisemitism, Islamophobia, or other forms of racism.”
“Do you really need a report to tell you these words were offensive?” she asked, referring to the report’s recommendation to refrain from using terms such as “Paki” and “Zio,” adding, “And did you really need a report to tell you that comparing Hitler, Nazi and Holocaust to the Jewish people is inappropriate?”
In response, Corbyn stated, “Of course, I know these words are deeply offensive…I just wanted — and I’m pleased the report includes it — make it absolutely clear…We would not accept this idea of equivalence — the Hitler comparison — and other issues like that…It’s there as a recommendation, which I hope will be accepted by our party.”
Firing back, Ghani took issue with the report’s fourth main recommendation — “Labour members should resist the use of Hitler” — questioning Corbyn as to why there is no outright ban:
Ghani: ‘Surely it should be there is no place in the Labour Party. And it’s just a recommendation so if people do use these terms, what will happen to them? Will they have their wrists slapped or what?’
Corbyn: ‘What will happen is they will be told they should not use them.’
Ghani: ‘But you needed a report…to come to this conclusion?’
Monday’s hearing is the latest in a series of events scrutinizing Labour and Corbyn over whether allegations of antisemitism within the party are accurate. In his testimony, Corbyn said he “regrets” referring to terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah as friends — despite ignoring repeated calls to apologize for such references. “It was inclusive language I used which, with hindsight, I would rather not have used,” he said.
Corbyn also denied comparing Israel to ISIS during his remarks at a recent press conference revealing the results of the antisemitism inquiry. “At no stage did I make that comparison,” he said, clarifying that just “because somebody is Jewish, they shouldn’t be expected to have special knowledge or support or opposition to the state of Israel and its activities — any more than somebody who is a Muslim should be expected to have special knowledge, support or condemnation of the government of say Saudi Arabia, Iran or Pakistan.”
“I said Islamic states — lower case,” Corbyn added.
Pressure is being mounted on Corbyn as more members of Labour call on him to resign — something the party leader has rejected. On Tuesday, Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, announced that he will hold talks with unions to get them to withdraw their support of Corbyn.