Erdan: There are anti-Semitic views in UK Labour leadership

Public Security Minister says leadership of UK Labour party is anti-Semitic, stops short of saying leader Corbyn is an anti-Semite.

Ben Ariel ,

Gilad Erdan
Gilad Erdan
Flash 90

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the leadership of the British Labour party is anti-Semitic, but stopped short of saying Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite.

Erdan made the comments in an interview with the British Guardian newspaper during a visit to Brussels this week.

He told the newspaper that the Israeli government had become concerned by the views expressed by figures in the highest echelons of the Labour party.

“We recognize and we see that there are anti-Semitic views in many of the leadership of the current Labour party. We hope it will be changed,” said Erdan.

He expressed hope that the Labour leadership “will come to the right decisions about people in their party who don’t understand that Hamas is a recognized terror organization, that you cannot have a regular relationship with a terror organization.”

Asked whether he was suggesting Corbyn himself was an anti-Semite, Erdan said, “I didn’t say it. I said there are views that are very close to anti-Semitism in the leadership of the Labour party today in the UK.”

Corbyn has come under fire in the past due to his calling Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends" and for outright refusing to condemn those two terrorist organizations despite being urged to do so by local Jewish groups.

Last year, however, the Labour leader said that he regretted making those comments.

The Labour leader has also been accused of doing too little to curb rampant anti-Semitism among members and lawmakers from his party. In recent years, dozens of Labour members have been suspended over their anti-Semitic statements.

Among those suspended from the party is former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who was suspended after claiming that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler supported Zionism.

Livingstone has repeatedly refused to apologize for the comments, even after being harangued as a "racist, Hitler-apologist" by an MP from his own party.

In his interview, Erdan noted that a review last year of anti-Semitism carried out by Shami Chakrabarti, the former director of the civil rights group Liberty, who was later given a peerage at the suggestion of the Labour leader, had been “empty”.

“We don’t think this committee was enough. We still follow and listen to their views and we are concerned that it will lead, it will bring, the UK to a very, very negative place. Still we are optimistic,” he told the Guardian.

A spokesman for the Labour party said in response to the interview, “Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party campaign against and condemn all forms of antisemitism and the Labour party conference recently adopted new tough rules on anti-Semitism.”