In UK parliament, PM Theresa May spars with Corbyn over anti-Semitism

The verbal confrontation in the House of Commons followed a newspaper ad in which Labour Lords condemned Corbyn for “allowing anti-Semitism to grow in our party.”

By World Israel News Staff

The subject of anti-Semitism took center stage at the British House of Commons as Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sparred at the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session on Wednesday.

The premier charged that the opposition leader could not “parade himself as the champion of the people and the defender of equality and fairness” as long as anti-Semitism within Labour ranks is not brought under control.

She called Corbyn’s handling of animosity to Jews within his party “a real disgrace.”

The Labour leader retorted that he would deal “with any racism” in his party and challenged the prime minister to grapple with allegations of Islamophobia within her ruling Conservative Party.

“This party totally opposes racism in any form whatsoever. Anti-Semitism has no place in our society or any of our parties and no place in any of our dialogue,” said Corbyn.

Earlier Wednesday, an advertisement was published in The Guardian newspaper in the name of more than 60 Labour colleagues, about a third of Labour members in the House of Lords, charging that Corbyn has failed to accept responsibility for “allowing anti-Semitism to grow in our party” and has allowed a “toxic culture” to prevail in Labour.

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“The Labour Party welcomes everyone irrespective of race, creed, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Except, it seems, Jews,” says the ad.

An op-ed article written by Labour MP Margaret Hodge also appeared in The Guardian on Wednesday. In it, the MP states that “today marks one year since my face-to-face encounter with Jeremy Corbyn in the lobby of parliament in which I called him a racist and an anti-Semite.”

Disciplinary action was pursued against her in the aftermath of that showdown in what is widely considered to have been a watershed moment in the party.

“I won’t walk away from the fight to root out anti-Semitism in the party. But the leadership remains in denial,” Hodge wrote in Wednesday’s opinion piece.

A BBC Panorama program which aired earlier in July featured former Labour officials “who alleged they had to deal with a huge increase in anti-Semitism complaints since Corbyn became Labour leader in 2015.”