A Church of England lay minister has been asked to step back from his role in the Diocese of St Albans after a social media post claiming Jews won’t back Jeremy Corbyn because he won’t ‘kowtow to their every wish’.
In a since-deleted Facebook post, Dr Robin Rowles said the Jewish community will “vote out” Labour in the next general election because Jeremy Corbyn may not “kowtow to their every wish”.
The post, which was reported to the Diocese by Stephen Hoffman, appeared on the ‘Friends of Jeremy Corbyn’ group.
It was posted in response to an article in the Independent about the motion being debated in Parliament today urging the Labour leadership to set out steps to tackle antisemitism within seven days.
“Or they’ll vote out Corbyn as leader so that they will lose the next elections, which is what the Jews want”, the post read. “The last thing the Jews apparently want is a party in power that may not kowtow to their every wish.”
In a later post on his Facebook profile, Mr Rowles suggested Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus and revealed he had been banned from the Facebook group.
The post read: “Teehee!!! I think I’ve found the root cause of the claims of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. I’ve been banned from a left-wing, Corbyn supporting, Facebook group for being antisemitic.
“On querying the ban, I further discovered that to say that ‘the Jews arrested Jesus and arranged for him to be killed’ is being anti-Semitic.
“That’s going to ruin a few Passiontide sermons”.
In a statement to Jewish News, The Diocese of St Albans said Mr Rowles was “immediately asked to step back from his role as a minister while an urgent and thorough investigation takes place”.
The Diocese added it “finds all forms of anti-semitism repugnant and unacceptable. The bishops of the Church of England accepted in full the IHRA definition of anti-semitism last year.”
A Board of Deputies spokesperson said: “These comments are despicable, and Mr Rowles ought to be ashamed of himself.
“We trust that a swift and firm disciplinary process will ensue, reiterating the fact that antisemites have no place in the Church of England.”
Rob Thompson, senior programme manager at the Council of Christians and Jews, said: “These are shocking and unacceptable comments which peddle the age-old myth that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus and the ancient trope of ‘Jewish power’.
“They contradict seventy five years of positive efforts since the Holocaust to build bridges between Christian and Jewish communities. The thinking behind them damages Christian and Jewish understanding of one another and their mutual flourishing in a safe and loving society.
“We trust that Robin Rowles’ diocese will investigate these comments and act without delay.”