Ephraim Mirvis, the Chief Rabbi, has warned about the spread of anti-semitism in the Labour Party. Writing in the Daily Telegraph he also criticised the intervention of the union leader Len McCluskey.
The Rabbi said:
“It is astonishing to see figures on the hard Left of the British political spectrum presuming to define the relationship between Judaism and Zionism despite themselves being neither Jews nor Zionists. The likes of Ken Livingstone and Malia Boattia claim that Zionism is separate from Judaism as a faith; that it is purely political; that it is expansionist, colonialist and imperialist”.
Referring to comments made by McCluskey about anti-semitism allegations being mood music, the Rabbi added:
“In recent days, we have heard anti-Semitism in the Labour Party described variously as ‘a smear’ and as ‘mood music’ being manipulated by political opponents of Jeremy Corbyn. There has been nothing more disheartening in this story than the suggestion that this is more about politics than about substance”.
He also rejected comments from senior figures in the Labour Party including Jeremy Corbyn, who have denied that the party has a serious problem with anti-semitism. He wrote:
“Comments from senior and long-standing members of the Labour Party, both Jewish and not, show just how severe the problem has now become”.
The Rabbi did though welcome the comprehensive inquiry which had been announced by the Labour Party.