The Labour Party has staunchly rejected criticism from 24 public figures who said they won’t vote for them at the election over the antisemitism row – accusing “several” of them of racism, Islamophobia and misogyny.
John le Carre, Maajid Nawaz, Nick Hewer and Joanna Lumley are among 24 public figures who signed a letter to the Guardian, declaring their refusal to vote for the Labour Party because of its association with antisemitism, saying Jeremy Corbyn has “a long record of embracing antisemites as comrades”.
A Labour party spokesperson hit back, saying: “It’s extraordinary that several of those who have signed this letter have themselves been accused of antisemitism, Islamophobia and misogyny. It’s less surprising that a number are Conservatives and Lib Dems.”
Signatories of the letter also include actor Simon Callow, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and author Frederick Forsyth.
They wrote: “The coming election is momentous for every voter, but for British Jews it contains a particular anguish: the prospect of a prime minister steeped in association with antisemitism.
“Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour has come under formal investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for institutional racism against Jews.
“Two Jewish MPs have been bullied out of the party. Mr Corbyn has a long record of embracing antisemites as comrades.
“We listen to our Jewish friends and see how their pain has been relegated as an issue, pushed aside by arguments about Britain’s European future.
“For those who insist that Labour is the only alternative to Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit, now, it seems, is not the time for Jewish anxiety.
“But antisemitism is central to a wider debate about the kind of country we want to be.
“To ignore it because Brexit looms larger is to declare that anti-Jewish prejudice is a price worth paying for a Labour government.
“Which other community’s concerns are disposable in this way? Who would be next?
“Opposition to racism cannot include surrender in the fight against antisemitism. Yet that is what it would mean to back Labour and endorse Mr Corbyn for Downing Street.
“The path to a more tolerant society must encompass Britain’s Jews with unwavering solidarity. We endorse no party.
“However, we cannot in all conscience urge others to support a political party we ourselves will not. We refuse to vote Labour on December 12.”
The other signatories are Fay Weldon, William Boyd, Antony Beevor, Sathnam Sanghera, Janina Ramirez, Trevor Phillips, Suzannah Lipscomb, Tom Holland, Peter Frankopan, Ghanem Nuseibeh, Dan Snow, Fiyaz Mughal, Tony Parsons, Dan Jones, Maajid Nawaz, Oz Katerji, Nick Hewer, Ed Husain and Terry Jervis.
A Labour party spokesman added: “We take allegations of antisemitism extremely seriously, we are taking robust action and we are absolutely committed to rooting it out of our party and wider society.”
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- Fay Weldon
- William Boyd
- Antony Beevor
- Sathnam Sanghera
- Janina Ramirez
- Trevor Phillips
- Suzannah Lipscomb
- Tom Holland
- Peter Frankopan
- Ghanem Nuseibeh
- Dan Snow
- Fiyaz Mughal
- Tony Parsons
- Dan Jones
- Maajid Nawaz
- Oz Katerji
- Nick Hewer
- Ed Husain
- Terry Jervis
- Simon Callow
- General Election 2019