Labour leadership hopeful Emily Thornberry has praised Jeremy Corbyn for “always calling out those people who play the race card” at a Holocaust Memorial Day event.
Speaking at an event at Islington Assembly Hall to an audience that included fellow local MP Mr Corbyn, Ms Thornberry advised that it was not just the pupils present who needed to learn the lessons of history, but also the “adults, especially the politicians amongst us.”
Mr Corbyn also addressed the ceremony, describing how “the Nazi Party rose to power and how they murdered six million Jewish people along with all the travellers and gypsies they could, along with lesbian and gay people.”
A Holocaust survivor, Hana Kleiner, lamented in Mr Corbyn’s presence “the current rise of antisemitism” and blasted Holocaust denial “in the face of all the documented evidence”.
The Mayor of Islington, Cllr Rakhia Ismail, mentioned the “need to hold politicians to account” over genocides around the world, but suggested that it was “Number 10 (Downing Street) and America or other parts of the world” who were guilty of “supporting blindly” contemporary genocides.
Other politicians were unimpressed with the political speeches. Dame Margaret Hodge MP, said: “If it wasn’t so serious, this would be a joke. I think Emily Thornberry needs to reflect on the reality before she makes statements like that.”
Ian Austin, the former Labour MP who resigned from Labour over antisemitism and is an honorary patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “It’s easy to speak about racism at a Holocaust commemoration. But their words would have much more weight if the Labour Party had not been poisoned by racism against Jewish people under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. He could start to make amends by booting out the racists and apologising for his responsibility for this scandal before he stands down.”
The event comes after Mr Corbyn appeared to back Rebecca Long-Bailey, long viewed as the “continuity candidate”, for the leadership, describing her as “our candidate for leader” at a political event. Mr Corbyn’s aides suggested that the Party leader had not intended to formally endorse Ms Long-Bailey.
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In the first release of its Antisemitism in Political Parties research, Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that Jeremy Corbyn is personally responsible for 24 incidents of antisemitic discourse, which was equal to fifteen percent of all recorded incidents involving parliamentary candidates and party leaders in the 2019 general election. Overall, Labour Party candidates for Parliament accounted for 82 percent of all incidents.