Corbyn apologises again for anti-Semitism in Labour
Party leader says he is dealing with the issue of anti-Jewish racism
Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for episodes of anti-Semitism involving Labour party members.
After growing pressure for him to express regret over the issue, the Labour leader said: “Obviously I’m very sorry for what has happened,” during an appearance on ITV’s This Morning.
In a lively exchange with presenter Philip Schofield, Corbyn was asked if he would apologise. Schofield said: “Here is your opportunity now to apologise to the Jewish community for any anti-Semitism by Labour members.”
Corbyn replied: “Our party… can I make it clear…” before Schofield interrupted: “No, just say sorry.”
The Labour leader then said: “Can I just make it clear… our party and me do not accept antisemitism in any form…” Schofield interrupted to ask: “So are you sorry?”
Corbyn replied: “Obviously I’m very sorry for everything that’s happened but I want to make this clear I am dealing with it. I have dealt with it.”
He then pointed out that: “other parties are also affected by anti-Semitism,” adding that “candidates have been withdrawn by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives and by us because we do not accept it in any form whatsoever”.
Asked if “sorry was the hardest word for him to say” by co-presenter Holly Willoughby, Corbyn replied: “No, not at all.”
Yesterday’s apology is being seen as a milestone by some, with the Daily Mail’s headline saying: “Jeremy Corbyn FINALLY says sorry for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.”
But as The Guardian points out, Corbyn has previously apologised for anti-Semitic incidents involving party members. One such apology came in a social media video released last summer.
However, pressure had grown on him after he declined to apologise four times during a recent interview with the BBC presenter Andrew Neil.
That pressure only intensified when the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, claimed “a new poison - sanctioned from the very top - had taken root” in Labour.
In response to the Chief Rabbi’s allegations, Corbyn said anti-Jewish racism was “vile and wrong” and would not be tolerated under a future Labour government.
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