British Labour leader Jeremy Corbin asked to remove a Hebrew greeting from his Passover message because it made him sound “too Zionist”, his former policy adviser claimed over the weekend.
The Labour leader’s office denied the claim, however, saying it was categorically untrue, according to a report Sunday in The Independent.
The allegation was made in a newspaper article on Saturday in which the former adviser, Joshua Simons, wrote, “After six months working as a policy adviser for Jeremy Corbyn, it was clear to me that the way Corbyn and those around him think about Jewish people is shaped by a frenetic anti-imperialism, focused on Israel and America.”
“Without a hint of irony, one senior aide asked that I remove the greeting 'Chag Kasher VeSameach' from Corbyn’s Passover message, for fear that Corbyn’s supporters might think the use of Hebrew 'Zionist,'” charged Simons.
Simons, who is Jewish, also said the Labour leader's office did not want Ken Livingstone disciplined after he claimed Adolf Hitler had once supported Zionism.
The former London mayor was suspended after the remarks in April and is still waiting for Labour officials to rule on his case. He has robustly defended his claims.
A spokesman for Corbyn denied Simons' claims on Sunday, telling The Independent, “The allegation that Seumas Milne, or any other Jeremy Corbyn aide, asked for the Hebrew Passover greeting to be removed from the Labour leader's Passover message earlier this year is categorically untrue.”
“’Chag Kasher Vesameach’ appeared in Jeremy Corbyn's Passover statement, published in Jewish News on April 21. Far from being overruled on its contents, it was Seumas Milne who signed off the full statement, as confirmed by the documentary record,” added the spokesman.
He described Simons as “a disgruntled former member of staff” who now supported rival Owen Smith in the leadership race.
The controversy surrounding the Passover greeting came as it also emerged that Corbyn had turned down an invitation from Israeli opposition leader MK Yitzhak Herzog to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum and will send a party official instead.
Since being elected as head of the Labour party, Corbyn has been under fire by the local Jewish community, 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.
The problem with anti-Semitism in the Labour party goes far beyond its leader, however, as in recent months the party has suspended dozens of members due to anti-Semitic statements.