NEWS
05/08/2018 12:37 BST | Updated 06/08/2018 13:23 BST

Jeremy Corbyn Releases Video Saying 'Sorry For The Hurt' Caused By Anti-Semitism Row

'You are not our supporters.'

Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for the hurt caused to Jews by anti-Semitism in Labour following stark warnings about the risk the row posed to the future of the party.

The Labour leader acknowledged there was an issue with anti-Semitism in the party and said people who denied that were “contributing to the problem”.

He added: “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 supporters.”

The video comes a day after Deputy Labour leader Tom Watsonhit out at his party’s handling of the anti-Semitism row, warning Labour could “disappear into a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment”.

The Labour MP also called for an immediate end to disciplinary action against his colleagues Ian Austin and Dame Margaret Hodge, who both lost relatives in the Holocaust.

He told the Observer: “This is one of those moments when we have to take a long, hard look at ourselves, stand up for what is right and present the party as fit to lead the nation – or disappear into a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment.”

Corbyn’s comments come after a fresh barrage of anti-Semitism claims engulfed the Labour party this week.

His attempt to draw a line under the row began with a Guardian article which was branded “ill-timed and ill-conceived” by the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies after being published on Friday night as Jews observed the Sabbath.

The Labour leader had already apologised for sharing a platform with people who allegedly compared Israel to the Nazis and it was reported on Friday that a speech by Corbyn to the Jewish community in North London had been called off

The Labour leader has received complaints about his behaviour and there have been requests for the human rights watchdog to investigate the party.

After three leading Jewish newspapers jointly published a scathing column about Corbyn’s party, the Labour leader rejected their “overheated rhetoric”.

But he acknowledged there was a “real problem that Labour is working to overcome” and stressed that if he became prime minister he would “take whatever measures necessary” to guarantee the security of the Jewish community.

He acknowledged Labour had been “too slow in processing disciplinary cases of anti-Semitic abuse” but insisted that was changing.

In the latest message, Corbyn said: “Driving anti-Semitism out of the party for good and working with the Jewish community to rebuild trust are vital priorities.

“I am sorry for the hurt that has been caused to many Jewish people. We have been too slow in processing disciplinary cases of, mostly, online anti-Semitic abuse by party members.

“We are acting to speed this process up.

“People who hold anti-Semitic views have no place in the Labour Party. They may be few – the number of cases over the past three years represents less than 0.1% of Labour’s membership of more than half-a-million – but one is too many.

“Our party must never be a home for such people and never will be. 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 supporters.

“And anyone who denies that this has surfaced within our party is clearly actually wrong and contributing to the problem.” 

Campaign Against Antisemitism chairman Gideon Falter said: “Jeremy Corbyn has released yet another bland statement devoid of any apology for his own anti-Semitism or promises of specific actions.

“In his Guardian article on Friday he called our concerns ‘overheated rhetoric’ and in this video he says that our concerns must not be dismissed.

“It is just another contradictory, hypocritical, insincere attempt to whitewash his own role as the author of this nightmare.”