A former Scottish Labour leader has accused Jeremy Corbyn of being “arrogant” and “inept” in his handling of the row over anti-Semitism which has engulfed the party.
Jim Murphy has taken out a full page advert in the Glasgow edition of the Jewish Telegraph to offer an apology to British Jews and to accuse Corbyn of failing to do enough to throw anti-Semites out of his party.
The former Cabinet minister’s comments comes as Corbyn faced fresh criticism after footage emerged of him drawing comparisons between the Nazi occupation of wartime Europe and Israeli actions in the West Bank.
Murphy said that under Corbyn, Labour appeared to have “deliberately turned its back on British Jewry”.
“It’s as inexplicable as it is destructive,” he said.
“And when in a hole of its own making, rather than stopping digging, Labour’s leadership has asked for a bigger shovel.
“British Labour’s top team has shown itself to be intellectually arrogant, emotionally inept and politically maladroit.”
Murphy was a minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and led the Scottish Labour party to a disastrous 2015 General Election result, which saw Labour lose 40 of the 41 seats they were defending, including Murphy’s.
Murphy said there was “a small, but growing minority, of antisemitic conspiracy theorists amongst the membership of the Labour Party”.
He added: “Jeremy Corbyn is not doing nearly enough to throw out the anti-Semites found within grassroots and online Labour.”
Murphy’s dramatic intervention increases pressure on Corbyn and Labour’s National Executive Committee to reconsider the code of conduct on anti-Semitism agreed last month, which omits four of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance examples from its own list of unacceptable behaviours.
Labour argues that the items – mostly dealing with criticisms of the state of Israel – are covered elsewhere in the document in a way which will make it easier to take disciplinary action.
But senior figures including deputy leader Tom Watson have said the IHRA text should be adopted in full, and MPs are expected to back this stance in a vote in September.
Dave Prentis, leader of Unison, Britain’s biggest public service union, has added his voice to calls for the party to adopt in full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, including its list of examples of prejudicial behaviours.
Prentis such that such a move, coupled with ”removing those guilty of racism from our party and putting the issue of Labour and anti-Semitism to bed as quickly as possible” was “critical” to the party’s efforts to win power at the next election.
The issue was costing Labour votes and harming its relationship with the Jewish community, Prentis said.
Jewish leaders have urged Corbyn to “come out of hiding” and address the anti-Semitism issue.
Additional reporting from the Press Association.