Labour leadership contender Emily Thornberry said on Wednesday she was left “deeply disturbed” by a since-ditched plan to drop a reference to Palestinian attacks against Israel from the party’s election manifesto.
In an exclusive op-ed for Jewish News, the shadow foreign secretary accused Jeremy Corbyn’s advisers of planning to drop a reference to terror and rocket attacks against Israel in a manifesto clause about the conflict with Palestinians.
She claimed aides assured her the suggested language was “balanced considering the considerable imbalance in the conflict” despite her concern it was “utterly unacceptable.”
“Disgustingly, attacks on Israeli civilians were being deliberately dismissed in a way that would never have been tolerated of attacks on any civilians in any other country around the world,” Thornberry wrote.
In her piece, Thornberry said she believed Corbyn’s reaction at a later meeting indicated the Labour leader “knew nothing about the row”.
But while the suggested change was never adopted, she wrote, “the whole process left me deeply disturbed at the mentality of the advisers around Jeremy.”
Were she to be Labour leader, she continued, she “would simply not have that” and stamping out antisemitism would be her “most urgent and immediate priority.”
Thornberry echoed some of her rivals’ calls for the adoption of recommendations made by the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Labour Movement and the equalities watchdog investigating allegations of antisemitism in the party.
She also vowed to invite Lord Charlie Falconer to implement these recommendations and to propose changes to Labour’s disciplinary procedures. “And we then need to get down on our hands and knees to the Jewish community and ask them for forgiveness and a fresh start,” she wrote.
Thornberry joined Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips in the leadership contest on 4 April.
Labour was approached for comment.