By Middle East Affairs and Reuters
Israel’s Labour Party said on Tuesday it suspended relations with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour party, accusing him of brushing off anti-Semitism and showing hostility towards Israeli policies, Reuters reports.
Corbyn has been party head since 2015, but is a staunch supporter of Palestinian rights and a critic of Israel. Many have accused him of not taking a stand against anti-Semitic comments that he hears in his own party and in groups he supports.
“It is my responsibility to acknowledge the hostility you have shown to the Jewish community and the anti-Semitic statements and actions you have allowed as leader of the Labour party UK,” Israeli Labour Party leader Avi Gabbay wrote in an open letter to Corbyn.
British Jewish groups protested the leader last month outside parliament. Corbyn has admitted that anti-Semitism is becoming a problem his party and promised to redouble his efforts to stamp it out.
“Jeremy has pledged to be a militant opponent of anti-Semitism,” a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
“He has repeatedly emphasised the central role of the Jewish community in the Labour Party and the importance of ensuring it is a supportive and welcoming environment for all communities.”
As Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day are this week, Gabbay said in his letter that he couldn’t help but think of the anti-Semitism during those times and the pain it caused.
“As such, I write to inform you of the temporary suspension of all formal relations between the Israel Labour party and the leader of the Labour Party UK,” he said.
Gabbay said Corbyn had shown “very public hatred” towards Israeli government policies, including those where the opposition and the ruling coalition are aligned.
Israeli Labour is part of the “Zionist Union” faction in Israel’s Knesset, which controls 24 of the legislature’s 120 seats.