A third of Labour’s peers have posted a full-page advert in The Guardian blasting Jeremy Corbyn for not telling the “whole truth” about antisemitism in the Party.
The 67 signatories, including Tony Blair’s former fundraiser Michael Levy and spin doctor Peter Mandelson, say the Labour Party now welcomes everyone “except, it seems, Jews,” adding: “This is your legacy, Mr Corbyn.”
In a stinging and highly personal attack, they say Corbyn has “allowed a toxic culture to divide our movement,” adding: “You have failed to defend our Party’s anti-racist values. You have therefore failed the test of leadership.”
Among the signatories are former minister and anti-apartheid activist Peter Hain, prominent Jewish scientist Robert Winston, former Labour Friends of Israel chair Jon Mendelsohn and Jonathan Kestenbaum, whose parents’ families fled Nazi Germany.
They told Corbyn: “You are accountable as Leader for allowing antisemitism to grow in our party and presiding over the most shaming period in Labour’s history.”
They also accused the Labour leader of “shielding antisemitic conduct from the Party’s disciplinary rules,” adding: “It marks the latest fall-out from last week’s BBC Panorama documentary which showed former Labour staff members discussing their experience of dealing with complaints about antisemitism.
Corbyn said there were “many, many inaccuracies” in the programme and the Party has lodged a high-level complaint with the BBC. Party officials said the former staffers had “both a personal and political axe to grind”.
However the 67 Labour peers told Corbyn that “it is the style of your office and your followers to deny the truth of the message and shoot the messengers, whether they are party members or whistleblowers from Labour’s head office”.
They added: “We cannot stay silent while younger, braver party workers and members speak out.”
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell cast doubt on the peers’ motivations, but promised to “listen to their views”. He said: “I’m not sure why they’ve put an advert in the Guardian – they could have just written to us or popped in for a meeting.”
He added: “If there are real concerns we have to listen to them: no matter where they are expressed or how they are expressed, let’s listen to them and let’s resolve it.”
Asked if the peers were wrong to put an advert in a newspaper, he said: “It’s up to them, that’s their choice. Adverts in the Guardian are quite expensive… they could have used it on a Jewish charity tackling anti-Semitism, for example.
“But that’s the way they want to communicate, they’ve done it. I’d have rather they just picked up the phone and came and met Jeremy.”
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