Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has welcomed the commitment of new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to root out antisemitism in the party.
Ephraim Mirvis, who sharply criticised Jeremy Corbyn over what he said was his failure to tackle the issue, said it was “heartening” that the task of rebuilding trust with the Jewish community had begun.
Sir Keir offered his solidarity in a personal call to Mirvis to mark Yom Hashoah, when Israel and Jewish communities around the world commemorate the victims of the Holocaust.
Writing on Twitter, Mirvis said: “I welcomed hearing directly of his commitment to take the necessary action to root out antisemitism from the Labour Party as a top priority.
“It is heartening that the task of rebuilding the Jewish community’s trust in the Labour Party has begun.”
Thank you to Sir Keir Starmer for his personal call today to convey his solidarity with the Jewish community as we mark Yom Hashoah. I welcomed hearing directly of his commitment to take the necessary action… 1/2
— Chief Rabbi Mirvis (@chiefrabbi) April 21, 2020
Sir Keir said he welcomed the opportunity to express his solidarity with the Jewish community on such a solemn occasion.
Mirvis angered some in Labour when he launched an outspoken attack on Corbyn during last year’s general election campaign, dismissing his claims to be tackling antisemitism in the party as a “mendacious fiction”.
In an explosive article for The Times, he said: “A new poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root in the Labour Party.”
His claims were rejected at the time by Labour, which insisted Corbyn was a “lifelong campaigner against antisemitism” and that such prejudice had no place in the party.
Sir Keir’s call to Mirvis will be seen as a further distancing by him from the legacy of the former leader.