(April 3, 2018 / JNS) Amid an ongoing anti-Semitism scandal, the United Kingdom’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was heavily criticized by Jewish leaders for attending a Passover Seder hosted by a radical far-left Jewish group.
Corbyn said the event was “a celebration of Passover, which I celebrate with young Jewish people from my own community and my own constituency,” the Guardian reported. “It was very interesting talking to a lot of young people about their experiences of modern Britain, and I learned a lot. Isn’t that a good thing?”
The group, Jewdas, which describes itself as “radical voices for the alternative diaspora,” has been highly critical of Israel and has supported the Palestinian cause. It previously called Israel “a steaming pile of sewage which needs to be properly disposed of.”
Corbyn, who has in the past expressed admiration for the Islamic terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, has been accused of not doing enough to tackle anti-Semitism within his party. Last week, a rally of more than 1,500 people outside of Parliament organized by mainstream Jewish groups said that “enough is enough,” and called on the leader to do more.
Jonathan Goldstein, chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, said that while he has “no issue” with Jewdas and they are entitled to their views, he questioned Corbyn’s decision to meet with the radical group so soon after a breakdown in relations with mainstream Jewish organizations. “In his first act towards the Jewish community, he has gone to sit with a group who describe the JLC and the Board of Deputies’ actions as being a cynical ploy,” he told the Guardian.
Labour MP John Woodcock, a leader in the Labour Friends of Israel group, said Corbyn’s attendance was “irresponsible and dangerous.”
He added that it was “deliberately baiting the mainstream Jewish community days after they pleaded with him to tackle anti-Semitism.”
Similarly, the Campaign Against Antisemitism said Corbyn’s appearance at the Jewdas Seder was “a very clear two-fingered salute [the British version of the finger] at mainstream British Jewry.”
A Corbyn spokesman said the Labour leader attended it in a private capacity and not as head of the party.