Corbyn to tell Jewish leaders of ‘absolute determination’ to stamp out anti-Semitism

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Corbyn to tell Jewish leaders of ‘absolute determination’ to stamp out anti-Semitism

Labour leader seeks to reassure community ahead of talks with the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn said he would tell Jewish community leaders he has an “absolute determination” to ensure there is no anti-Semitism in Labour.

The party’s leader will have talks with the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) on Tuesday afternoon after weeks of criticism of Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism allegations.

Mr Corbyn’s comments came after a senior shadow cabinet minister said Labour members must acknowledge the party has an issue with anti-Semitism.

The 5pm showdown between Mr Corbyn and the Jewish community leaders comes after protests and criticism from Labour MPs and international condemnation over the way he has dealt with hostility to Jews.

Asked what his message would be, Mr Corbyn told ITV News: “We are going to have a good discussion, a good discussion about their concerns and about my absolute determination to ensure there is no anti-Semitism anywhere, in any party in Britain, including my own.”

Writing in the Evening Standard, Mr Corbyn apologised for the pain caused by the problem.

“We have not done enough fully to get to grips with the problem, and for that the Jewish community and our own Jewish members deserve an apology,” he said.

“My party and I are sorry for the hurt and distress caused.”

He acknowledged party process had “been simply not fully fit for purpose” and “we did not look closely enough at ourselves”.

Organisations representing Jewish communities will call on Mr Corbyn to use his “personal authority” to drive through changes to wipe out the problem in the party.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Photo credit: Dave Higgens/PA Wire

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the (JLC) said there must be “action not words” when they accepted his invitation to meet.

Labour Jewish MPs spoke out about anti-Semitism in the party during a debate in Parliament and warned “enough is enough”.

Holocaust survivor Susan Pollack called for Mr Corbyn to show leadership in tackling anti-Semitism.

“He has to act and he has to show his leadership, and then I think that’s the only way we will have respect,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

Asked if Mr Corbyn had shown leadership on the issue, shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne sidestepped the question, saying: “I think what we have now got to do – and we have got an issue in the Labour Party – we have got to acknowledge that that problem exists and, for some, that is a challenge.

“For me, the Labour Party was created to fight injustice, to fight against prejudice, to fight against hatred, and that we are where we are really hurts me, so we have got to act.”

He told Today that Labour had to “rebuild confidence in the Jewish community” adding: “I think it’s my job as shadow communities secretary to try and rebuild some of that trust, and it’s Jeremy’s job as the leader of the Labour Party to try and rebuild some of that trust.”

Mr Gwynne acknowledged the party’s disciplinary process had taken “far, far too long” in deciding cases such as former London mayor Ken Livingstone.

Jenny Manson, co-chair of the Corbyn-supporting Jewish Voice for Labour, said “none of us in my group have ever experienced any anti-Semitism in the Labour Party” and warned against a “witch hunt”.

She said: “It is a misery and a tragedy that Margaret Hodge and other Labour MPs have received nasty anti-Semitic comments, I suspect most of these have been on social media and I suspect that no-one has actually worked hard to find out exactly who this nasty stuff is coming from.”

The Board of Deputies, made up of almost 300 deputies directly elected by synagogues and community organisations, and the JLC, a charity supporting the Jewish community, took the unusual step of protesting outside Parliament in March before delivering an open letter to a meeting of Labour MPs and peers about their concerns.

The Labour leader has said he is “happy to meet” the two bodies “without any preconditions” and pledged to hear their concerns about tackling anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

In a letter accepting his invitation, the organisations thanked Mr Corbyn for his commitment to addressing the “anguish” caused by anti-Semitic incidents.

However, they said recent events had not been “reassuring” for Jewish people in Britain and told him he must root anti-Semitism out of his party.

They later refused to attend a roundtable meeting Labour had proposed to hold on Wednesday with a wider group of Jewish organisations that reportedly included Jewish Voice for Labour, a recently-established group that has downplayed the issue.

The Labour leader has admitted the party needs to “do better” in the fight against abuse and has issued an apology for the “pain and hurt” caused by anti-Semitism.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: