The leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said on Friday there was a “real problem” of anti-Semitism in his party which he would root out, but he also hit back at strong criticism of Labour from Jewish newspapers.
In an article written for The Guardian newspaper, Corbyn stopped short of agreeing to adopt in full an internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism, along with a series of examples, as sought by Jewish groups.
Corbyn, a veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights and a critic of Israel, has been hit by accusations that Labour has tolerated anti-Semitism among some of its members.
Last week, Jewish newspapers said Labour would represent an “existential threat to Jewish life in this country” if it won power.
Corbyn said in Friday’s article that he did not accept a Labour government would represent any kind of threat to Jewish life in Britain.
“That is the kind of overheated rhetoric that can surface during emotional political debates,” he said. “But I do acknowledge there is a real problem that Labour is working to overcome.”