Statement on Anti Semitism

The video footage of Jeremy Corbyn published over the weekend in which he criticises British "Zionists" for failing to "understand English irony" is yet another grave example of the Labour leader's alienation of British Jews, and must surely be an ultimatum for many members of the Labour party.

In Tower Hamlets this new material is particularly troubling, following on from Corbyn's prior statements of support for an artist who used crude and gratuitous antisemitic tropes in a mural painted near Brick Lane, and the leader's failure to explain his comments since.

Most troublingly, whether or not Corbyn claims to have had a more nuanced intention, this statement legitimises and emboldens antisemites within Corbyn's support base and beyond – just as Boris Johnson's comments on women's clothing have stoked public expressions of islamophobia in recent weeks. At a time where police are reporting rises in hate crime, we expect and demand better from our political leaders.

As Vince Cable has made clear, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, sexism, transphobia, and bigotry in any form are not welcome in the Liberal Democrats. We call on Labour and the Conservatives to act more decisively in resolving these issues, both locally and among their senior representatives.

Elaine Bagshaw
Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse

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