Shropshire Star comment: Corbyn failing to tackle anti-Semitism in his party
Jeremy Corbyn probably hoped that anti-Semitism would not be an issue in this election.
The early campaign was dominated by Brexit, while over the past week manifestos have taken centre stage.
But following the startling intervention of the Chief Rabbi of the UK, Ephraim Mirvis, Mr Corbyn again finds himself facing difficult questions about Labour’s failure to adequately deal with something that was not an issue until he became leader in 2015.
The Chief Rabbi’s comments should force Labour into a period of deep soul searching.
He said a “new poison”– sanctioned from the top – had “taken root” in the party, and that Mr Corbyn was unfit to lead the country.
Yet Mr Corbyn’s response has done nothing to address those concerns.
Instead of facing up to the problems within his party head-on, he ploughed on with the announcement of Labour’s ‘race and faith’ manifesto, a document that most will view with a great deal of scepticism.
Mr Corbyn clearly thinks he can brush off allegations of anti-Semitism with a few well-chosen words.
He tried the same tactic after the damning Panorama probe earlier this year, which featured former Labour staff members revealing failings in the party’s process of investigating complaints of racism.
And when his MPs started quitting, with some saying they had faced anti-Semitic bullying, Mr Corbyn and his followers sought to put the blame on them.
His comments that Labour does not tolerate anti-Semitism in “any form whatsoever” have a distinctly hollow ring to them.
Sadly, this is an ugly issue which has flourished under his leadership.
It is also worth noting that prejudicial views are not confined to specific political parties.
The Tories have problems of their own – you have only to look at Baroness Warsi’s repeated concerns regarding Islamophobia.
But leaders need to lead, and that means making tough decisions when they are required. On anti-Semitism, Mr Corbyn has failed repeatedly.