Herzog to Jeremy Corbyn: Labour needs external probe to root out antisemitism

"To compare the Labour leader and the Labour Party staff working to elect a Labour government to the Nazi regime is truly contemptible, and grossly insensitive to Jewish staff in particular."

By
July 18, 2019 17:49
3 minute read.

Jewish Agency head Isaac Herzog calls on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to investigate antisemitism in his party. (JAFI)

Jewish Agency head Isaac Herzog calls on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to investigate antisemitism in his party. (JAFI)

Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog has called on the UK Labour Party undergo an external investigation of its policies and make public recommendations for eradicating antisemitism with the party.

In a letter to Labour Party chairman Jeremy Corbyn, Herzog said that “The revelations made by the BBC Panorama documentary on the expansion of antisemitism within the Labour Party under your leadership have caused much distress and dismay. The treatment by Labour’s leadership of antisemitic incidents within the ranks of the party is properly outrageous, and the leniency and laxness displayed by the party’s institutions towards members who spread antisemitic tropes and cast antisemitic aspersions is mind-boggling.”

He explained to Corbyn that while it is permitted to criticize the government of Israel, delegitimizing the Jewish state is a form of antisemitism.

“It is antisemitic to demonize Israel and Israelis in general as inherently evil,” Herzog wrote. “It is antisemitic to apply double standards to Israel, that is: to hold it to standards to which no other nation is held. And it is antisemitic to delegitimize the Jewish people’s right to a sovereign state of its own – and to apply this denial exclusively to Jews and to no other people. All of this relies heavily on ages-old anti-Jewish prejudice, stereotypes and bigotry.

“The new mask of this old hatred fools no one,” he continued, noting that when he was head of the Labor Party, Herzog had invited Corbyn for a tour of Yad Vashem, which he turned down.

The Jewish Agency head then recommended that antisemitism “urgently” and “determinedly” be prevented within the party. The credible way to do so, he said, would be to “entrust the probe to an outside body, which will be completely independent of the party and its leadership and which will make practical recommendations as to the right process to rid the party in the most unambiguous way of the scourge that is antisemitism.”

Herzog’s letter came on the same day that the Huffington Post UK edition revealed that Labour Party had fired shadow Brexit minister and deputy leader of the Labour Lords Dianne Hayter after she compared the “bunker mentality” of Corbyn to the “last days of Hitler.”

Hayter had alleged that the party would not share vital information with the National Executive Committee on party finances, membership figures and antisemitism data shared with the Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation.

“That declaiming of intelligence, the refusal to share is an absolute symbol of the bunker mentality,” stated Hayter.

The shadow minister added that Corbyn and his team would not acknowledge criticism or listen to information on polling. “Those of you who haven’t [read the book] will have seen the film Bunker, about the last days of Hitler, where you stop receiving any information into the inner group that suggests that things are not going the way you want,” said Hayter.

“That seems to be where we are at the moment: having the leadership in a bunker so they are not hearing those views, that evidence, that is in conflict with what they are trying to do, to the extent that even undermines what they are trying to do,” she added. “Because if you are trying to win an election and you don’t honestly look at the polls, then you are not going to be in a position to take the action to win.”

A Labour spokesperson told the Huffington Post that “Diane Hayter has been sacked from the front-bench position with immediate effect for her deeply offensive remarks about Jeremy Corbyn and his office… To compare the Labour leader and the Labour Party staff working to elect a Labour government to the Nazi regime is truly contemptible, and grossly insensitive to Jewish staff in particular.”

Hayter, whose full title is Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, served as a shadow spokesperson for exiting the European Union and still serves as shadow deputy leader of the House of Lords, according to the British Parliament’s website. Shadow members of parliament are members of the opposition who mirror the cabinet in government. Each member of the shadow cabinet receives a specific policy area to lead for their party and to question and challenge their counterpart in the cabinet.

She will keep her elected position as deputy leader of the Labour Lords, but will be stripped of her shadow cabinet position, according to a separate report by the Guardian.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.


Related Content

August 26, 2019
Roof of Milwaukee Jewish School collapses a week before start of school

By MARCY OSTER/JTA

Cookie Settings