FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, April 23, 2018, Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, after a Memorial Service to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London. The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl Tweeted Thursday Aug. 2, 2018, that Corbyn must make an "abject apology" to British Jews for allowing anti-Semitism to fester in the left-of-center party. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE)

UK Labour leader says ending anti-Semitism a vital priority

August 05, 2018 - 12:32 pm

LONDON (AP) — British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn vowed Sunday to rebuild trust with the Jewish community as he tried to calm a storm over alleged anti-Semitism in the left-of-center opposition party.

Claims of anti-Jewish prejudice within Labour have grown since Corbyn, 69, a longtime critic of Israel's treatment of Palestinians, was elected leader in 2015. Jewish groups have accused him of failing to expel party members who express anti-Semitic views.

The dispute recently boiled over again after the party proposed adopting a definition of anti-Semitism that differed from the one approved by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Corbyn, a member of Parliament since 1983, said in a video released by the party that there was "a real problem of anti-Semitism that Labour is working to overcome."

"Driving anti-Semitism out of the party for good and working with the Jewish community to rebuild trust are vital priorities," he said.

Corbyn's critics said he needed to back up his words with action. Gideon Falter of the Campaign Against Antisemitism said the "contradictory, hypocritical, insincere" video statement was devoid of any promises of action.

The video was released after Labour's deputy leader, Tom Watson, said the party faced "eternal shame and embarrassment" if it did not confront the problem.

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