Israel’s Labor Party has cut ties with Jeremy Corbyn’s office after accusing the Labour leader of hostility towards Jews and allowing “anti-Semitic statements and actions”.
In a highly-critical letter, Avi Gabby, chair of the Labor Party of Israel, said the party would have no further relations with Corbyn’s office while the issues of anti-Semitism in UK Labour fail to be “adequately” tackled.
Gabby also accused Corbyn of “very public hatred” of the security policies of the Middle Eastern country.
The letter comes two weeks after Jewish groups held a demonstration outside Parliament to protest against Corbyn’s perceived lack of action in tackling anti-Semitism among some Labour supporters.
Corbyn has admitted there are “pockets of anti-Semitism” in the party, but a date has yet to be set for a planned meeting with the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and the Board of Deputies of British Jews to discuss the issue.
The letter read: “It is my responsibility to acknowledge the hostility that you have shown to the Jewish community and the anti-Semitic statements and actions you have allowed as Leader of the Labour Party UK. This is in addition to your very public hatred of the policies of the Government of the State of Israel, many of which regards the security of our citizens and actions of our soldiers – policies where the opposition and coalition in Israel and aligned.”
It adds: “While there are many areas where our respective parties can and will cooperate, we cannot retain relations with you, Leader of the Labour Party UK, while you fail to adequately address the anti-Semitism within Labour Party UK.”
James Sorene, CEO of Israel and Middle East think tank BICOM said: “The Israeli Labour Party has been close to its UK sister party for decades.
“Today’s announcement is stark and unprecedented.
“A very powerful signal of the anger and deep unease felt by Israeli Labour politicians at increasing antisemitism in the UK Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn’s inability to understand his role allowing antisemitism to flourish and his unwillingness to properly tackle it.”
A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn said: “Jeremy is utterly committed to driving antisemitism out of the Labour Party.
“As Jeremy has said, he and the Labour Party are proud of our deep historical links with Jewish communities and stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters, who play a vital role in our movement.
“Jeremy has pledged to be a militant opponent of antisemitism. He has repeatedly emphasised the central role of the Jewish community in the Labour Party and the importance of ensuring it is a supportive and welcoming environment for all communities.
“Jeremy will be meeting with the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council to listen to their concerns and to discuss how to best root out antisemitism from our movement and society.”
The latest row over anti-Semitism was sparked when it emerged two weeks ago that Corbyn had posted a Facebook comment in 2012 stating the graffiti artist Kalen Ockerman was “in good company” over his resistance to the demolition of anti-Semitic mural in East London.
When he was criticised for the content of the mural, Ockerman had written: “Some of the older white Jewish folk in the local community had an issue with me portraying their beloved #Rothschild or #Warburg etc as the demons they are.”
Corbyn later put out a statement insisting that “I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic”.
A Jewish Labour member who quit Momentum because he felt “unsafe” says claims of a witch-hunt within the party over anti-Semitism are “atrociously offensive”.