David Miliband has said it was “horrifying to see the words anti-Semitism and Labour in the same sentence” in his first direct comments since the party was engulfed in a row over the scourge.
A number of councillors and members have been suspended or expelled by Labour in the past six months – with the leader launching an inquiry into anti-Semitism and racism as a result.
Asked by what he made of Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the issue, the former foreign secretary told the Jewish News: “I never thought I’d see the day when the words Labour and anti-Semitism were in the same sentence – and clearly they have been in the same sentence many times in the last year. It’s imperative to fight back against that with every sinew.
“I think labour has to find a way back with all communities including the Jewish community. We have to always be a party that is acutely determined to be an open and welcoming home for all parts of Britain. It’s incumbent on everyone at different levels to do everything they can to make sure the great parts of Labour’s history in fighting anti-Semitism are never compromised.”
Miliband, who accused Corbyn of making the party “unelectable” during his campaign for re-election, added that there are many who “spoken up very clearly within the Labour family and I think those need to be listened to”.
Following criticism from the home affairs select committee over Twitter’s failure to do enough to clamp down on hate, Miliband said “anonymity is not an excuse for hate and there is far too much hate of too many kinds, too much bile pouring around. Bile and hate are the antithesis of argument”. Asked if he had been targeted by anti-Semites likes many high-profile Jews online, he added: “I think it’s important not to read too much of your own social media or other threads.”