Labour still has a problem with antisemitism the chairman of the National Jewish Assembly has declared in a bitter blow to Sir Keir Starmer’s bid to clean up his party.
The highly respected body criticised the party just days after Sir Keir Starmer suffered a serious challenge to his authority when 56 MPs defied him and voted for an Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza.
Questions have also previously been raised when Labour MP Apsana Begum was criticised for supporting a Pro-Palestinian group on the eve of the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, only a few hours after it had announced that it would protest outside the Israeli Embassy in London, despite proscribed terrorist organisation Hamas murdering hundreds of Israeli citizens on October 7.
And recently Labour Party MP Andy McDonald has also had the whip removed by the party for using the phrase “from the river to the sea” at a Pro-Palestinian demonstration. This has raised questions as to whether the Labour Party still has an antisemitism issue.
In response Chairman of the National Jewish Assembly Gary Mond said: “Recent events including the rebellion [on Wednesday] by 56 Labour MPs show that Labour still has an antisemitism problem.
“Anyone that voted for a ceasefire was effectively voting to give a genocidal terrorist organisation, Hamas, time to consolidate, regroup, rearm and plan further massacres of Israelis. The Labour MPs must know this.”
The prospects of Labour winning the next election could also possibly exacerbate the issue Mond warns, he told GB News “The scale of this virus within Labour is almost certainly very much greater. Now there are 200 Labour MPs approximately. If opinion polls are to be believed, that number could rise to 450 after the next election.
“We do not know how many of those will also be anti-Israel but suspect it could be a lot, with many new MPs having been involved in the Corbyn era.”
While Sir Keir Starmer has wanted to move the party on from the days of Jeremy Corbyn and the antisemitism problems linked with his leadership some MPs feel that this has been brushed under the carpet.
One MP who believes that Labour still has an antisemitism problem and watched events unfold in the House of Commons is Member of the Conservative Friends of Israel, Steve Double.
He said: “Despite whatever Sir Keir Starmer may claim, it would appear many in the Labour Party still have a blind spot when it comes to Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and its existence as a sovereign state.
“I sat in the Commons chamber for most of yesterday’s debate and was quite frankly appalled at the rhetoric from many members of the opposition benches, who failed to recognise Israel’s right to defend itself from the terror attacks from Hamas.”
Responding to the Labour rebellion and the questions raised as to whether the party has dealt with the antisemitism problem, Chair of the Labour Friends of Israel, Steve McCabe, said: “It’s the position of the Labour leadership and the Labour party that Israel, like any other sovereign state, not only has a right to defend itself but a duty to defend its citizens.
“Not sure [the vote] was too representative as many those on the left, whose sympathies for the Palestinians often lead them to gloss over the terrorist nature of Hamas opted to speak yesterday because of the SNP amendment.
“It’s also true that those in constituencies with large numbers of Muslim voters are subject to a great deal of pressure, and some intimidation from those who operate in such areas and claim to be the voice of the community.
“They are very organised, very disciplined but it’s questionable as to how representative they are of the communities they purport to speak for.”