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July 19, 2019 10:50 am

Jewish Agency Calls for Investigation Into UK Labour Party Over Antisemitism Row

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Israeli MK Isaac Herzog. Photo: screenshot. – The Jewish Agency for Israel is calling on an investigation into the United Kingdom’s Labour Party following a recent BBC investigation that exposed the depth of antisemitism within its ranks.

Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Jewish Agency, said that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has clearly crossed the line from criticism of Israel into antisemitism.

“It is legitimate to criticize any government. I have done so myself as leader of the opposition from within the Knesset—as vibrant and as vivid a democratic parliament as you may find in any liberal democracy. But it is racist to attribute to a whole ethnic or religious group negative characteristics which are supposedly innate,” he said.

“It is antisemitic to demonize Israel and Israelis in general as inherently evil. It is antisemitic to apply double standards to Israel, that is: to hold it to standards to which no other nation is held. And it is antisemitic to delegitimize the Jewish people’s right to a sovereign state of its own—and to apply this denial exclusively to Jews and to no other people. All of this relies heavily on ages-old anti-Jewish prejudice, stereotypes and bigotry. The new mask of this old hatred fools no one.”

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The BBC profiled the antisemitism problem in Labour in its TV program “Panorama,” which aired last week.

Eight former Labour officials told the BBC that party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team “interfered in the complaints process for incidents of alleged antisemitism, on some occasions processing them from his Westminster office.”

The insiders—seven of whom worked in Labour’s complaints and disputes department—said there has been a significant increase in complaints about antisemitism since Corbyn became party leader in 2015.

In a letter address to Corbyn, Herzog called on the UK Opposition Leader to establish an external and independent inquiry to examine the extent of antisemitism within the Labour Party and publish its findings.

“The Panorama documentary has exposed the moral chasm into which Labour has fallen. What needs to be done, and urgently, is to determinedly prevent all antisemitic, antisemitic-compatible and antisemitic-enabling expressions within the party lines. Whether their background is malevolence or ignorance, no tolerance must be shown to any display, nuanced as it may be, of xenophobia, racism and antisemitism. Firm action must be taken before it’s too late!”

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