‘No, just say sorry,’ TV host implores of Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader finally apologizes, but Jewish community says too little, too late

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn reacts as he speaks about Labour's environment policies in Southampton, Britain November 28, 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE)
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn reacts as he speaks about Labour's environment policies in Southampton, Britain November 28, 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE)
UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn apologized on Tuesday for the antisemitism that has been plaguing his party.
“Obviously, I’m very sorry for everything that has happened,” he said during an interview with ITV’s This Morning show by Phillip Schofield. “But I want to make this clear, I am dealing with it, I have dealt with it.”
“I’m sorry” came only several minutes after the show’s host prompted Corbyn to apologize.
While discussing the matter with Schofield, who told him she was giving him the opportunity to apologize, Corbyn said: “Our party... can I make it clear,” but was cut-off by the show’s host who said: “No, just say sorry.”
Corbyn started his sentence again saying that he would like to make it clear, “Our party and me do not accept antisemitism in any form,” but was once again interrupted by Schoefield asking, “So you are sorry?”
It was only then that Corbyn finally said he was “obviously very sorry” for what has happened.
Adam Levick, managing editor of CAMERA’s UK Media Watch, told The Jerusalem Post that “it’s telling that the apology itself only came after several minutes in which he avoided answering the ITV News interviewer’s question, and after a week of negative publicity from his refusal to apologize during the Andrew Neil interview” on BBC.
Jeremy Corbyn on ITV's This Morning
Levick said that “one half-hearted apology can’t undo Corbyn’s long record of befriending, supporting and making common cause with antisemites. Polls show that 87% of British Jews believe Corbyn is personally antisemitic, and this one reluctant apology seems unlikely to change their views.”
Simon Cobbs of Sussex Friends of Israel called Corbyn’s apology “too little, too late. It is all very well for him to list the processes that he has put into place to deal with the virulent antisemitism that now exists within the Labour Party. But the reality is that those processes were not necessary before he became leader. Again he tried to deflect from the issue by discussing processes, problems of racism in other parties, and then suggested that he was dealing with the problem and had, in fact, dealt with it.”
Cobbs said that “the Jewish community does not feel it has been dealt with in any substantive way,” and that “the apology was not spontaneous or heartfelt – it was given after he was asked numerous times on live television to do so. It is sadly empty and meaningless.”
Chaya Cikk, whose family lives in the UK, was not convinced by the apology either. “Corbyn has worked with the wrong kind of people and is in the wrong crowd,” she said.
Corbyn gave an interview to the BBC on Thursday and repeatedly declined an invitation to apologize to the British Jewish community over long-standing antisemitism claims.
The leading British opposition party has been plagued by antisemitism allegations, which threaten to affect Labour’s chances in the UK election on December 12.
BBC’s Neil told Corbyn that “80% of Jews think that you’re antisemitic. That’s quite a lot of British Jews. I mean, wouldn’t you like to take this opportunity tonight to apologize to the British Jewish community for what’s happened?”
Corbyn refused to tackle the matter during that interview, instead saying that he was “determined that our society will be safe for people of all faiths. I don’t want anyone to be feeling insecure in our society, and our government will protect every community.”
Fiona Sharpe, spokeswoman for Labour Against Antisemitism, said that “Jeremy Corbyn’s grudging apology, when it finally arrived today, was an inadequate response to widespread concerns that the Labour Party he is leading is institutionally antisemitic.”
Sharpe said the group questions “how he can claim to be ‘dealing with’ evidence of anti-Jewish racism in his organization, while so many of the Labour Party’s candidates have been alleged to have made or promoted antisemitic views and comments. If he cares about discrimination against the British Jewish community, then why were Jews entirely left out of a Labour video about tackling racism?”
Corbyn has had four years to deal with this crisis, Sharpe said, “and the reality is he has failed to do so. Any apology he offers will be rejected until he implements a zero-tolerance policy on tackling antisemitism, and there is currently zero evidence of him doing that.”