ANTI-Semitism is a stain on Labour. Accusations the party harbours this repellent bigotry and that Jeremy Corbyn has done too little to stamp it out have dogged it throughout his leadership.
The excoriating and unprecedented intervention by the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, goes to the heart of anxieties over Mr Corbyn’s fitness to govern. The swiftness of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s support for the criticism of Labour emphasises the inter-faith solidarity in opposing anti-Semitism.
The torrent of hatred and abuse directed at Rabbi Mirvis on social media by Labour supporters underlined both the justness of his criticism and how deplorably low elements of a party that has historically been a friend to the Jewish community have sunk.
Mr Corbyn has nobody but himself to blame for this and the potentially serious damage it inflicts on Labour’s electoral prospects on December 12. His condemnations of anti-Semitism have not been anywhere near strong enough and party members guilty of it are still treated too leniently.
Nor has he repudiated his long associations with anti-Israel groups – some of them violent. Even the resignations of Jewish MPs who quit in fear of their own safety failed to prompt unequivocal action to cleanse the party.
It is shameful that the official Opposition, which seeks to form the next Government, should be the cause of such anxiety amongst Britain’s Jews. The concern that engenders amongst voters, and the questions it raises about Mr Corbyn’s fitness to govern, will reverberate far beyond the Jewish community.