by Eldad Beck and Israel Hayom Staff
Deputy leader Tom Watson urges party head Jeremy Corbyn to drop inquiries against two Jewish Labour MPs who expressed concern about anti-Semitism in the party
The leader of Britain's Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, at an event in London
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is stepping up his efforts to persuade the Jewish community in the U.K. that he is addressing the growing issue of anti-Semitism in his party.
In a video message released on Twitter on Sunday, Corbyn said, "Jewish people have been at the heart of our party and our movement throughout history. No one should dismiss the concerns they've expressed about what's been happening in the party."
Corbyn said that driving anti-Semitism out of the party and working with the Jewish community to rebuild trust are "vital priorities," and he apologized for the "hurt caused to many Jewish people."
He said the party had been "too slow" in processing disciplinary cases involving anti-Semitic abuse by party members, and that it is working to speed up the handling of such complaints.
Corbyn stressed that Labour would "never" be a home for anti-Semites.
"People who use anti-Semitic poison need to understand: You do not do it in my name, or the name of my party. You are not our supports. And anyone who denies that this has surfaced within our party is clearly actually wrong and contributing to the problem," he said.
Corbyn said he wants Jews to feel at home in Labour and help "take the country forward," and said it is his responsibility as Labour leader to "root out anti-Semitism" in the party.
"No community should feel at risk in a decent society," Corbyn said, adding that this includes not only anti-Semitism but also Islamophobia and "far-right racism."
Meanwhile, the party's deputy leader, Tom Watson, said in an interview to Britain's Observer newspaper that unless Labour takes immediate action against anti-Semitism, it is at risk of disappearing into "a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment."
Watson called on Corbyn to shut down inquiries currently pending against two Jewish Labour MPs, Ian Austin and Margaret Hodge, who have publicly decried the growing problem of anti-Semitism in the party.
Watson also urged Corbyn to overrule Labour resistance to adopting the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism of 2016, which broadens the definition of anti-Semitism to include attacks on Israel "as a Jewish collectivity," Holocaust denial, or decrying the existence of Israel as a racist entity.
"This is one of those moments when we have to take a long, hard look at ourselves," Watson said in the interview.
Eldad Beck and Israel Hayom Staff
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