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Jewish UK Labour Party delegates to receive security details

Bodyguards to protect Jewish Labour Party members at upcoming conference out of fear they could face attack by hard-line supporters of party leader Jeremy Corbyn

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Jewish delegates and members of Parliament will receive their own security details at a British Labour Party conference in Liverpool in September.

The decision to provide the Jewish delegates with bodyguards was made out of concern they may be physically attacked by Corbyn’s hard-line supporters given the anti-Semitism controversy surrounding the party and its leader in recent weeks.

According to a report in the Daily Mail on Sunday, the Jewish Labour Movement spoke with the Community Security Trust that guards Britain’s Jewish community about providing bodyguards for the upcoming conference.

Labour’s National Executive Committee is expected to meet to discuss the adoption of guidelines to combat anti-Semitism. The party will then convene in Liverpool to either approve or postpone the adoption of those guidelines.

According to a source, the conference will be “particularly tense as much of the anti-Semitic trolling on the Internet has been traced back to hotspots” in the Liverpool county of Merseyside.

“The CST are reporting back with a full assessment of the security requirements. There is a real concern about safety,” the source said.

Corbyn was criticized last week over comments he made at a 2013 conference by the Palestinian Return Centre in which he defended comments by Palestinian Authority Ambassador to the United Kingdom Manuel Hassassian.

In the video, published by the Daily Mail on Thursday, Corbyn said British Zionists “clearly have two problems. One is that they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country [the U.K.] for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony.”

The Conservative Party filed an official complaint over Corbyn’s remarks with the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, saying he had breached Parliament’s code of conduct, according to which members of Parliament must not damage the House of Commons’ reputation.

On Saturday, U.K. Home Secretary Sajid Javid criticized Corbyn on Twitter, saying that if Corbyn “had said ‘Asians’ or Blacks’ instead of ‘Zionists,’ he’d be gone by now. The fact he’s still there tells us all we need to know about what the Labour Party has become.”

Jewish Labour Parliament member Luciana Berger said that Corbyn’s comments has made her feel unwelcome in her own party.

Corbyn consistently denies allegations that he is anti-Semitic but has been the subject of much controversy in recent weeks amid a focus on the Labour Party’s failure to address rising anti-Semitism among its members.

Recent reports have shown him laying a wreath at a memorial to the Black September terrorists who murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and attending the wedding of a known Holocaust-denier.

In late July, three Jewish newspapers in the United Kingdom ran a joint editorial calling Corbyn “an existential threat to Jewish life in this country.” The editorial, which ran in the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish News and Jewish Telegraph, said that since Corbyn’s election as Labour leader in 2015, the party had grown increasingly tolerant of anti-Semitism.

“The party that was, until recently, the natural home for our community has seen its values and integrity eroded by Corbynite contempt for Jews and Israel,” the editorial said.

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