A shadow cabinet minister has accused Jeremy Corbyn of “very poor judgement” in failing to speak out against anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn

Ivan Lewis, the most senior Jewish figure in the Labour Party, voiced his fears in a forthright blog post on Friday. It comes at the end of a week when the leadership frontrunner failed to answer charges he’d financially backed an anti-Israel organisation set up by a self-confessed Holocaust denier and it was revealed he’d defended a preacher accused of invoking blood libel.

Lewis wrote: “At the very least he has shown very poor judgment in expressing support for and failing to speak out against people who have engaged not in legitimate criticism of Israeli Governments but in anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Ivan Lewis

Ivan Lewis

“It saddens me to have to say to some on the left of British politics that anti-racism means zero tolerance of anti Semitism, no ifs, and no buts. I have said the same about Islamaphobia and other forms of racism to a minority of my constituents who make unacceptable statements.”

The shadow Northern Ireland Secretary said the future of the party rests on the leadership ballot and insisted Corbyn “advocates solutions which belong in the past”.

He added: “I fear his leadership would prevent us rebuilding the mainstream majority support of working and middle class voters, which is essential if we are ever to win an election.”