Britain’s Labour Party is in turmoil after a television documentary confirmed the extent to which anti-Semitism remains rife within its ranks.
By United with Israel Staff and AP
In a recent BBC program, former staff members of the left-of-center Labour Party recounted receiving anti-Semitic abuse and alleged that senior party officials interfered in complaint investigations.
Accusations of hostility toward Jews have riven Labour since left-winger Jeremy Corbyn, a longtime anti-Israel mouthpiece, became party leader in 2015.
Corbyn’s opponents say criticism of Israel by Labour members — especially those who joined after Corbyn took the helm — crossed red lines long ago and has devolved into virulent and rampant anti-Semitism in the party.
They also say the party has not taken the issue seriously.
While the party condemned the BBC documentary, broadcast Wednesday night, many Labour lawmakers expressed dismay at the allegations.
Legislator Pat McFadden tweeted that the program was “powerful and shocking. Huge bravery shown by the young people who spoke out.”
Colleague Jess Phillips said on Twitter that the claims made in the program were “worse than I expected. The Labour party response tells me that they don’t care.”
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said anti-Semitism was “a sickness in our party” that had to be dealt with.
Watson told the BBC there was a feeling “that there’s almost a permissive culture that people can use anti-Jewish, racist language both in our meetings and to each other on social media. And we’ve failed to address that properly.”