UK Labour MPs face backlash for attending anti-Semitism protest

British Labour lawmakers participated in a protest rally on Monday, criticising leader Jeremy Corbyn for failing to deal with alleged anti-Semitism in his party. The Labour MPs who protested have been slammed by party members, some of whom have called for them to be removed from office.

Some of the MPs have been subjected to abuse on their social media pages amid accusations that the rally was more about attacking Corbyn than pleading for action against discrimination, the Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.

During Monday’s event, about 1 500 protesters massed outside the British Parliament. It was an unprecedented rally organised by the usually publicity-averse Anglo-Jewish leadership. Attendees bore signs reading “No to anti-Semitism” as pressure ramped up on the party and its leader.

An open letter from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Anglo-Jewry’s main representative organisation, and the Jewish Leadership Council accused the veteran leftist of siding with anti-Semites “again and again”.

The letter said Corbyn was “repeatedly found alongside people with blatantly anti-Semitic views,” but “claims never to hear or read them.”

What triggered the protest was a Facebook comment from 2012 that recently came to light.

Corbyn had offered support to a street artist whose mural in east London depicted a group of businessmen and bankers, some of them Jewish, counting money around a Monopoly-style board balanced on the backs of men with dark complexions. The mural has since been taken down. On Sunday, Corbyn said he was wrong to support the painter’s “artistic freedom” without looking more closely at the image.

In a statement issued on Monday as the protesters began to gather, Corbyn pledged to be “a militant opponent of anti-Semitism”, telling the Jewish community: “In this fight, I am your ally and always will be.”

Allegations of Labour anti-Semitism have grown since Corbyn, a pro-Palestinian socialist, was elected leader of Britain’s main opposition party in 2015.

Some in the party say Corbyn, a long-time critic of Israeli actions against the Palestinians, has allowed abuse to go unchecked.

At what was described as an “emotional” shadow Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Corbyn instructed Labour’s incoming general secretary, Jennie Formby, to make action against anti-Semitism in the party her priority, the BBC reported.



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