(September 2, 2018 / JNS) As new reports of Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s associations with Palestinian terrorists and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists continue to surface, the party, which has seen a spike in anti-Semitism among members since Corbyn was elected leader in 2015, is preparing for a week that could determine its fate.
Party leaders are scheduled to meet in London on Tuesday to debate adopting the full version of the working definition of anti-Semitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which includes clauses addressing criticism of Israel and Israeli policies.
Corbyn is under growing pressure in the party to adopt the full version, but he and his associates have resisted doing so and are pushing for a softer definition of anti-Semitism.
It is unclear how the 32 members of the Labour leadership intend to vote. The decision could rest with the Jewish party members who back Corbyn.
The next day, Wednesday, Labour Parliament members are scheduled to appear in Parliament for a discussion on the “anti-Semitism debate” within the party. A number of MPs are expected to voice sharp objections to Corbyn’s stance on the issue and his handling of the crisis over anti-Semitism in Labour, which has consistently made headlines in recent weeks.
There are rumors in Labour that Corbyn could be ousted as party head, or that some moderate Labour MPs might resign and establish a new party.
Last week, Labour MP Frank Field, who has been a member of Parliament since 1979, announced he was resigning from the party because of rising anti-Semitism in its ranks. Field said he would remain in Parliament as an independent. MP Mike Gapes has said that he will consider leaving Labour if it does not adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in full.
Former Home Secretary Lord David Blunkett published an opinion piece in The Daily Telegraph over the weekend in which he stressed that if Corbyn does not adopt the full definition and apologize for his past association with anti-Semitic figures and terrorist operatives, Labour could become “irrelevant.” Blunkett said the Labour Party has seven days to save itself.
Even John Lansman, the head of the Momentum group, which advocated for Corbyn as party leader, has publicly acknowledged for the first time that anti-Semitism among Corbyn supporters is a problem.
In an interview with the Financial Times on Friday, said Lansman, “I was just horrified at things on my Facebook page from people who I regarded as friends.”
Lansman, who is Jewish, told the Times he thought it “strange” that some of his left-wing cohorts were unable to acknowledge what he called their “unconscious bias” towards anti-Semitism.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reported that in 2016, while giving evidence to the Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee during an inquiry in anti-Semitism, Corbyn failed to disclose that he had held a private meeting in Parliament in 2014 with representatives of the British pro-Palestinian group Deir Yassin Remembered, which is headed by Holocaust-denier Paul Eisen.