Labour shadow chancellor claims party ‘doing everything’ to ‘eradicate antisemitism’

Jewish leader slam McDonnell’s, say it ‘stretches credulity.'

By
November 4, 2019 19:31
2 minute read.
Labour shadow chancellor claims party ‘doing everything’ to ‘eradicate antisemitism’

A man runs past a Labour Party sign with pictures of both Jeremy Corbyn and Britain’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, in north London. (photo credit: HANNAH MCKAY/ REUTERS)

Comments by UK Labour Party shadow chancellor John McDonnell on the party’s fight against antisemitism have sparked ire from Jewish leaders and organizations.

On Sunday, McDonnell claimed that they are “doing everything we can” to fight Jew-hatred in their ranks while being interviewed by BBC News on Sunday by presenter Andrew Marr.

Marr showed him the front pages of several newspapers that warned about the risks to Jewish life in Britain if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn were to be elected.


In response, McDonnell told Marr that he is “so saddened” by the situation and reiterated that “everything I said we would do we are doing in terms of the Labour Party in terms of eradicating antisemitism from the party.”

“We are also doing everything we can to educate our own members, doing educational courses – all the things they [the Jewish community] has asked us to do, we are doing,” he said. “That will enable us then to assure the Jewish community that actually, the Labour Party will ensure our society creates a safe and also a decent environment for them and for everybody else.”

However, the Board of Deputies of British Jews slammed the comments on Twitter, saying that the claim that “Labour is ‘doing all the things [the Jewish community has] asked’ over antisemitism stretches credulity.”

“If Mr. McDonnell really wants to show he’s serious about tackling antisemitism, he will resign from Labour Representation Committee, which campaigns against disciplinary action for antisemites & has the expelled Jackie Walker on its board, as we have asked him to do,” the board wrote, while posting several letters written to Labour highlighting steps needed to combat antisemitism in the party.

The Jewish Leadership Council also tweeted the guidelines sent to the Labour Party on how to combat antisemitism in response to McDonnell’s comments.

In addition, Labour Against Antisemitism also criticized McDonnell’s comments, saying in a tweet that the shadow chancellor “defends Labour’s approach to antisemitism to Andrew Marr” in the same week that a Labour “parliamentary candidate is suspended after attacking the former chief rabbi.”

The group’s spokesman, Euan Philipps, tweeted that McDonnell’s comments were “a straightforward, blatant lie.”

He stressed that the Labour Party has “NOT done what the British Jewish community requested, they have ignored them.

“Shame on Labour MPs staying silent,” he added.

In a second tweet some hours later, he posed the question, “eight hours after these outright lies about #LabourAntisemitism were broadcast on #Marr, have any moderate @UKLabour MPs condemned Mr McDonnell?” He then answered, “No of course not. Not when there’s an election on, silly.”

The Pinsker Centre, a coalition of students and graduates seeking to educate about Israel and the Middle East at British universities, also hit back at McDonnell’s comments over Twitter.

“This is not the first time John McDonnell has discussed antisemitism on @AndrewMarr9’s show, and yet for all his reassurances, anti-Jewish racism in the Labour Party just gets worse and worse,” the coalition wrote. “#EnoughIsEnough.”


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