Protesters gathered outside the UK Parliament on Monday to demonstrate against anti-Semitism within Britian’s Labour party, urging leader Jeremy Corbyn to take a stand against such incidents. “Today, leaders of British Jewry tell Jeremy Corbyn that enough is enough,” the protest organizers wrote in an open letter.
Jeremy Corbyn Photo Credit: Paul New/Wikimedia Commons
Hundreds of demonstrates gathered in London’s Parliament Square on Monday in a protest against anti-Semitism within the UK’s Labour Party. In a letter sent to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council said Corbyn had failed to tackle anti-Semitism within his party.
“Today, leaders of British Jewry tell Jeremy Corbyn that enough is enough,” read the letter. “We have had enough of hearing that Jeremy Corbyn ‘opposes anti-Semitism’, whilst the mainstream majority of British Jews and their concerns are ignored by him and those he leads.”
Monday’s demonstration came amid a recent controversy surrounding Corbyn’s previous support of an anti-Semitic mural painted in London, depicting Jewish businessmen playing monopoly on the backs of the poor. The issue surfaced on Friday, when Labour MP Luciana Berger tweeted a screenshot of the artist’s Facebook page from 2012, containing a comment by Corbyn that apparently criticized the mural’s removal.
I asked the Leader’s Office for an explanation about this Facebook post first thing this morning. I’m still waiting for a response. pic.twitter.com/DL8ynBtES4
— Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) March 23, 2018
Corbyn has since apologized for the incident. “I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image,” Corbyn said. The Labour party also addressed the concerns in a statement: “In 2012 Jeremy was responding to concerns about the removal of public art on grounds of freedom of speech. However, the mural was offensive, used anti-Semitic imagery, which has no place in our society, and it is right that it was removed.”
Responding to the pressure of the protesters on Monday, Corbyn drafted a letter to the Jewish organizations, vowing that he remained a “militant opponent” to anti-Semitism. “I recognize that antisemitism has surfaced within the Labour Party and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples,” Corbyn wrote. “This has caused pain and hurt to Jewish members of our party and to the wider Jewish community in Britain. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused and pledge to redouble my efforts to bring this anxiety to an end.”
I have written to the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council. I will never be anything other than a militant opponent of antisemitism. In this fight, I am an ally and always will be. pic.twitter.com/QhQnFEpplU
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) March 26, 2018