The head of the Israeli Labour party, Avi Gabbay, yesterday announced he was suspending relations with UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his office.
In a letter sent to Corbyn, Gabbay said it was his responsibility “to acknowledge the hostility that you have shown to the Jewish community and the anti-Semitic statements and actions you have allowed as Leader of the UK Labour Party. We cannot retain relations with you while you fail to adequately address the anti-Semitism within the UK Labour Party UK.”
Gabbay also said that the issue of anti-Semitism came “in addition to your very public hatred of the policies of the Government of the State of Israel, many of which regard the security of our citizens and actions of our soldiers – policies where the opposition and coalition in Israel are aligned”.
The Israeli Labour leader made clear that he was suspending relations with Corbyn and his office, that all Israeli Labour Party MKs and staff had been informed of the suspension and that he had asked for quarterly updates on the situation of anti-Semitism in the UK Labour party.
In response, Corbyn said: “I wish they would read Shami Chakrabarti’s report. I wish that they would understand that we are utterly determined in every way to drive out anti-Semitism from our society and where it exists in any party to drive it out, including my own… And I would be very happy to have that discussion with them. I think they should have done me the courtesy of asking me first.”
Jennifer Gerber, Director of Labour Friends of Israel, said: “We fully understand why the Israeli Labour party has decided to suspend relations with Jeremy Corbyn. He has failed to respond to their repeated offers of dialogue, including invitations to host him at Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum. LFI’s relationship with the Israeli Labour party remains unaffected and we will continue our close cooperation.”
Discussing Gabbay’s decision on LBC radio yesterday, BICOM CEO James Sorene said: “It’s very sad that it’s come to this… What the Israeli Labour party is doing is just a very powerful signal that they want action by Jeremy Corbyn and they want it now and they just feel in all conscience they can’t continue relations with the Labour leader or his office while there is this inaction against anti-Semitism within Labour.”