Jeremy Corbyn backed a Labour faction’s motion to disaffiliate from the British branch of an international left-wing Zionist movement back in 1984, it emerged this week.
Old press cuttings were circulated online in which Corbyn is listed as chairing a conference of the Labour Movement Conference on Palestine, where he was reported to have sponsored a motion to sever ties to Poale Zion, the British branch of Israel’s Labor Zionist movement, 32 years ago.
In 2004, Poale Zion in Britain rebranded itself as the Jewish Labour Movement, as various international factions splintered. The new group’s mission statement refocused on Britain’s Jewish community.
Corbyn, the current Labour leader, has been dogged by stories of party members making anti-Semitic comments, and on Tuesday was accused of trying to “purge” the party of its Jewish links.
JLM chairman Jeremy Newmark, the former chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: “I find it hard to believe that any Labour politician would support what amounts to a proposal to purge the party’s only Jewish affiliate.”
The news of Corbyn’s past preference to cut loose from Poale Zion will be embarrassing, because its successor is now charged with “training” Labour Party leaders on what constitutes anti-Semitism.
JLM’s role was suggested in a recommendation from Baroness Royall, which was approved by Labour’s National Executive Committee last week.