JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Labor Party has temporarily suspended “all formal relations” with its British party counterpart because of leader Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to “adequately address anti-Semitism within Labour Party UK.”
Avi Gabbay, who heads the Labor Party in Israel and the Zionist Union, which combines Labor with the Hatnua party, sent a letter to Corbyn on Tuesday noting the long history of friendship between the Israeli and British parties and the warm relations with prior British Labour prime ministers.
“And yet, it is my 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 Labour Party UK,” Gabbay wrote. “This is 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.
“While there are many areas where our respective parties can and will cooperate, we cannot retain relations with you, Leader of Labour Party UK, while you fail to adequately address the anti-Semitism within Labour Party UK.”
Gabbay said he would be updated on the situation quarterly and will let Corbyn know when the suspension changes.
Corbyn came under fire last week for attending a seder hosted by a far-left Jewish group called Jewdas, which openly calls for Israel’s destruction. Also last week, British Jewish community leaders agreed to meet with Corbyn to discuss anti-Semitism in the party ranks.
Corbyn called Hezbollah and Hamas his friends in 2009, and said it was an honor to host representatives from those terrorist groups in Parliament. In 2016 he said he regretted making those remarks.
He has vowed to kick out any Labour member caught making racist or anti-Semitic statements. Dozens were expelled, but many others accused of these actions were allowed to stay or were readmitted.
British Jews and an interparliamentary committee of inquiry have dismissed as unsatisfactory an internal Labour audit that largely cleared the party of anti-Semitism allegations.