Chief Rabbi: Soul of the nation at stake if Labour wins

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Britain’s Chief Rabbi has warned Jeremy Corbyn's handling of antisemitism was “incompatible” with British values and the “very soul of our nation” was at stake.

Ephraim Mirvis said the “overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety” ahead of the December 12 poll.

“The way in which the leadership has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud - of dignity and respect for all people,” he said.

“When December 12 arrives, I ask every person to vote with their conscience. Be in no doubt, the very soul of our nation is at stake.”

He said Mr Corbyn’s supporters had “hounded parliamentarians, members and even staff out of the party for challenging anti-Jewish racism”.

Labour said it would “defend and support the Jewish way of life” and pushed back against some of the rabbi’s claims, ahead of the launch of the party’s race and faith manifesto.

“Jeremy Corbyn is a lifelong campaigner against antisemitism and has made absolutely clear it has no place in our party and society and that no one who engages in it does so in his name,” a spokeswoman said.

The party has also disputed the rabbi’s allegation there were “thousands” of unresolved antisemitism allegations, calling the claim “categorically untrue”.

Labour’s faith envoy, Stephen Timms, told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer “there has been a problem of antisemitism” in the party.

“Steps have been taken to deal with it, I’m sure further action is going to be needed. The race and faith manifesto that we’re launching today touches on support for the Jewish community,” he said.

“But there have been problems of antisemitism in the Tory Party as well, as well as a very big problem of Islamophobia which the Tory Party has largely ignored.”

Conservative election candidate Michael Gove told talkRADIO the Chief Rabbi’s comments marked an “unprecedented intervention”.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s been warned about antisemitism at the heart of his party for years now and the Chief Rabbi is confirming that Jeremy Corbyn just hasn’t taken the action required,” he said.

Liberal Democrat candidate and former Labour MP Chuka Umunna told talkRADIO there was a “clear link” between Mr Corbyn’s leadership and antisemitism.

“There’s always been antisemitism on the left unfortunately but I think that there are people who are within that party, but also support Jeremy Corbyn, who felt licenced once he came to the fore to go about their racist acts,” he said.

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