Anti-Semitism issue exposes rifts in Britain’s Labour party, Latest World News - The New Paper

Anti-Semitism issue exposes rifts in Britain’s Labour party

This article is more than 12 months old

LONDON Britain's opposition Labour Party is in turmoil over growing allegations of anti-Semitism on leftist leader Jeremy Corbyn's watch and the party's way of dealing with the issue.

The row has exposed deep divisions between Labour members denouncing Mr Corbyn's complacency, and his hard left supporters defending him to the hilt.

Nine MPs have quit the party in recent weeks to sit as independents, with many citing alleged anti-Jewish racism seeping through Labour's ranks as a primary reason.

One of them, Jewish lawmaker Luciana Berger, received death threats.

She concluded the party has become institutionally anti-Semitic since Mr Corbyn took over in 2015.

Mr Adam Langleben, 32, who is Jewish, joined Labour in 2006 but quit in February.

"I decided to leave because the party is no longer the party I decided to join 13 years ago," he told AFP.

He was elected to the local authority in Barnet, north London, a borough with a significant Jewish community.

Losing his seat in last May's local elections, he said "Jewish voters did not want to vote for the Labour Party".

He said he received death threats and a "torrent of abuse" from Labour members who claimed he was working for the Israeli government, while hate mail was sent to his home address.

Mr Langleben submitted a dozen complaints to the party that went nowhere. Eventually, he threw in the towel.

The polemic has been running since veteran socialist Corbyn came to power in the party, bringing an influx of new members with him.

Mr Corbyn has spent his political life backing pro-Palestinian causes.

He insists he is not anti-Semitic and has pledged to "root out" the problem which he recognises has "occurred in pockets" within the party.

Matters first came to a head in March last year when a series of events led to the rare step of British Jewish leaders writing a joint letter claiming "enough is enough".

Protests were held outside Parliament.

The letter claimed a "repeated institutional failure" within Labour to tackle the problem and accused Mr Corbyn of siding with anti-Semites "again and again". - AFP