The Labour Party has vehemently rejected criticism from the 24 public figures who denounced Jeremy Corbyn and Labour over antisemitism and accused several of them of antisemitism, Islamophobia and misogyny.
Twenty-four non-Jewish authors, actors, television and radio presenters, human rights campaigners and technologists wrote to The Guardian denouncing Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party over antisemitism.
A Labour Party spokesperson responded to the letter saying: “It’s extraordinary that several of those who have signed this letter have themselves been accused of antisemitism, Islamophobia and misogyny. It’s less surprising that a number are Conservatives and Lib Dems.”
They added: “We take allegations of antisemitism extremely seriously, we are taking robust action and we are absolutely committed to rooting it out of our party and wider society.”
The signatories included Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales; actors and actresses Joanna Lumley OBE, Simon Callow CBE; authors David Cornwell (who writes as John le Carré), Fay Weldon CBE, Frederick Forsyth CBE, William Boyd CBE, Tony Parsons, Sathnam Sanghera, and Ed Husain; historians Tom Holland, Sir Antony Beevor and Peter Frankopan; television presenters Dan Snow MBE, Nick Hewer, Dan Jones, Janina Ramirez, and Suzannah Lipscomb; radio presenter Maajid Nawaz; producer Terry Jervis; journalist Oz Katerji and human rights campaigners Trevor Phillips OBE, Fiyaz Mughal OBE, and Ghanem Nuseibeh.
Noting that the Party is now under statutory investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission following legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant, the public figures said that Jews were in “anguish” and being ignored.
They wrote: “We listen to our Jewish friends and see how their pain has been relegated as an issue, pushed aside by arguments about Britain’s European future…now, it seems, is not the time for Jewish anxiety.”
However they warned: “But antisemitism is central to a wider debate about the kind of country we want to be. To ignore it because Brexit looms larger is to declare that anti-Jewish prejudice is a price worth paying for a Labour government. Which other community’s concerns are disposable in this way? Who would be next? Opposition to racism cannot include surrender in the fight against antisemitism…The path to a more tolerant society must encompass Britain’s Jews with unwavering solidarity. We endorse no party. However, we cannot in all conscience urge others to support a political party we ourselves will not.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism is deeply grateful to each of them for their solidarity with the Jewish community.
Over 57,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”
On 8th December, regardless of religion, race or politics, Jews and non-Jews alike will gather in Parliament Square to declare that they stand together against antisemitism in the face of Jew-hatred in politics and mounting anti-Jewish hate crime.