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April 15, 2018 10:51 am

British Jewish Leaders Urge Corbyn to Defend Labour MPs Combating Antisemitism in Party

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British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: Reuters / Pierre Albouy.

Two top British Jewish leaders urged Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday to protect Labour lawmakers who are fighting against antisemitism in the party.

In a Guardian op-ed, Jewish Leadership Council President Jonathan Goldstein and Board of Deputies of British Jews President Jonathan Arkush recalled the March 26 demonstration they organized outside the Parliament building in London.

“When people accuse the protesters of being anti-Labour, they could not be more wrong,” Goldstein and Arkush wrote. “Many of those who came to the protest identify deeply with Labour and that is why they feel so betrayed. From the platform, courageous Labour MPs spoke with great pain, honesty and integrity about the problem.”

“We knew, as did most of the crowd, the huge risk that these MPs were taking for being there,” they continued. “It is these MPs and many other councillors and members who are now the most vital opponents of antisemitism. Inevitably, the MPs are now facing a perverse backlash for opposing antisemitism and for caring about their party. Corbyn’s leadership in defence of them will now be a crucial component of his promised commitment to combating antisemitism.”

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Next Tuesday, April 24, Corbyn will meet with Goldstein and Arkush.

“Last month’s protest was a necessary moment of catharsis, as painful for Labour as it was for our community, but we cannot now return to ‘business as usual,’” the two Jewish leaders wrote. “We need this to be a genuine turning point and will do everything we can to make it so. We can achieve this together if Corbyn can fulfil his pledge to be our ‘militant ally’ in the fight against antisemitism and demonstrate his understanding that what is now needed is firm action and not just words.”

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