Jeremy Corbyn apologised when it was revealed last night that he hosted an event comparing the Israeli government to Nazis on Holocaust Memorial Day in 2010.
The Times reports that the Labour leader opened and spoke at a talk, ‘Never Again – For Anyone’, which formed part of a tour entitled ‘Never Again for Anyone — Auschwitz to Gaza’. It was held in the House of Commons.
After being contacted by The Times about the event, Corbyn said: “The main speaker at this Holocaust Memorial Day meeting, part of a tour entitled Never Again — for Anyone, was a Jewish Auschwitz survivor. Views were expressed at the meeting which I do not accept or condone.
“In the past, in pursuit of justice for the Palestinian people and peace in Israel/Palestine, I have on occasion appeared on platforms with people whose views I completely reject. I apologise for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused.”
Labour MP Stephen Kinnock called for further action to be taken by the party leadership:
This is now a full-blown crisis for our Party. 3 things must happen today: Jeremy Corbyn must confirm that likening Israel to the Nazis is an anti-semitic act; the NEC must adopt the IHRA definition in full, and the Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin inquiries have to be halted. https://t.co/2i2aWFHzjE
— Stephen Kinnock (@SKinnock) August 1, 2018
The news comes after Sky News last night revealed it had obtained an audio recording from two years ago of Peter Willsman, a member of Labour’s national executive committee, alleging that Corbyn had asked him to text “recommendations” in Shami Chakrabarti’s report that “we need to be a bit careful about”.
There have been calls for Corbynite groups including Momentum to drop their endorsement of Willsman as an NEC candidate after an audio recording of the ruling body’s last meeting showed him deny the existence of antisemitism within the Labour Party.
The NEC member has since apologised for his comments and vowed to refer himself to equalities training. Willsman said: “Having sat on the NEC for many years, I am of course aware of appalling instances of antisemitism within our party, and am wholly determined to rooting it out of our movement.
“I do not believe antisemitism is ‘widespread’ in the Labour Party, and that was what my comments were trying to refer to, but we do have a problem which needs stamping out. One antisemite is one too many.
“I recognise the offensive nature of my comments and that, in diminishing the experiences of those who face antisemitism in our party and society, I showed a lack of the sensitivity required for discussions around racism.”