Two major Jewish groups have called on Jeremy Corbyn to condemn left-wing websites claiming Labour’s anti-Semitism row is a “smear” to undermine his leadership.
The Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews have also demanded Mr Corbyn set out exactly how he plans to stamp out the problem.
Mr Corbyn was forced to apologise earlier this week for a Facebook comment he made in 2012, protesting at the removal of a mural depicting old Jewish men playing Monopoly on the backs of emaciated bodies.
That led to the JLC and Board of Deputies organising a protest in Parliament Square over Labour’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism, along with a counter-protest from pro-Corbyn Jewish groups who believe the issue is being used to undermine the party leadership.
In their letter to Mr Corbyn, who is seeking a meeting with the two groups, they said it was a “disgrace” that some of his supporters had criticised Labour MPs for attending the demonstration.
They said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“Those Labour party members and Labour-supporting blogs pushing the abuse are largely doing so in your name.
“They need to hear you say, publicly and in your own voice, that we had every right to protest about anti-Semitism and that Labour MPs had every right to support us; that our concerns about anti-Semitism are sincere and not a ‘smear’ as has been widely suggested (including on your own Facebook page); and that anyone directing abuse, intimidation or threats at those of us who oppose anti-Semitism is damaging your efforts to eliminate it and to start rebuilding trust.”
The JLC and BOD also demand that Mr Corbyn personally spearheads action against anti-Semitism, and sets a fixed timetable to clear the huge backlog of cases against Labour memebers.
“Only your voice can persuade your followers that this a necessary and correct course of action,” the groups say.
“If actions need to be passed by the NEC or other Party bodies, you need to take personal responsibility for ensuring this happens.”
Among their other demands are:
A “swift conclusion” to disciplinary cases within a fixed timescale
Party members and MPs should not share platforms with anyone suspended or expelled for anti-semitism.
An education programme for party members, including a list of unacceptable terms , including ‘Zionist’ as a term of abuse.
A public statement from Mr Corbyn that those complaining of anti-Semitism, including Labour MPs, are not engaged in “smears”
Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn has written to Labour MPs and party members to say that he and his Shadow Cabinet are “unanimous in our determination, along with the new general secretary, Jennie Formby, to tackle this issue immediately and effectively”.
He said he had asked Ms Formby “to consider an action plan as a priority”, and that the two of them will attend the next meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party next month.
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