JEREMY Corbyn has been keen to portray Labour as a “Government in waiting” but the appalling handling of the anti-Semitism crisis engulfing the party suggests otherwise.
The latest sorry chapter in the ongoing row involves Peter Willsman, a member of Labour’s ruling body, dismissing some members of the Jewish community who had raised concerns about Labour’s attitudes towards them as “Trump fanatics making up information without any evidence at all”. He also demanded that 68 rabbis who had jointly written to the party asking it to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism provide evidence of “severe and widespread anti-Semitism” in Labour.
A recording of his heated remarks, made at a meeting attended by Mr Corbyn, was published by The Jewish Chronicle but despite widespread calls for his suspension, Labour has said it considers the matter “resolved” following an apology from Mr Willsman.
That position stands in stark contrast to the party’s treatment of MPs Ian Austin and Dame Margaret Hodge, who have been placed under investigation for “abusive conduct” after angry criticisms of the Labour leader’s handling of anti-Semitism issues following a string of scandals.
Earlier this year, Mr Corbyn wrote to Jewish leaders suggesting he “will never be anything other than a militant opponent of anti-Semitism”. That fact that such a clarification would be necessary in the first place tells its own story; but his claim is ringing ever-more hollow for the increasing numbers of the Jewish community who have concluded there is no place for them in the party.