Entertainment Celebrity Famous British figures reject Labour as anti-semitic
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Famous British figures reject Labour as anti-semitic

Signatories of a letter said under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, two Jewish MPs have been ‘bullied’ out of the party. Photo: Getty
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TV star Joanna Lumley and author John le Carre are among 24 prominent British figures who’ve declared their refusal to vote for Labour in the UK election on December 12 because of its association with anti-Semitism.

In a letter to The Guardian, the group said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had “a long record of embracing anti-Semites as comrades”.

Signatories of the letter also include actor Simon Callow, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and author Frederick Forsyth.

They wrote: “The coming election is momentous for every voter, but for British Jews it contains a particular anguish: the prospect of a prime minister steeped in association with anti-Semitism.

“Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour has come under formal investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for institutional racism against Jews.

“Two Jewish MPs have been bullied out of the party.”

However, the Jewish former House of Commons speaker John Bercow, in an interview with GQ magazine, said he did not believe Jeremy Corbyn was anti-Semitic but that Labour had a “big issue”.

He said that “though there is a big issue, and it has to be addressed, I do not myself believe that Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic. That is my honest view.

“I’m not saying that he doesn’t have a challenge in his party… I respect those who are very concerned about it, but I don’t believe Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic.

“I’ve known him for the 22 years I’ve been in parliament – even, actually, when I was a right-winger, we got on pretty well… I’ve never detected so much as a whiff of antisemitism [from him],” Mr Bercow told the magazine.

The signatories, however, said that “for those who insist that Labour is the only alternative to Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit, now, it seems, is not the time for Jewish anxiety.

“To ignore it because Brexit looms larger, is to declare that anti-Jewish prejudice is a price worth paying for a Labour government.

“Which other community’s concerns are disposable in this way? Who would be next?

“The path to a more tolerant society must encompass Britain’s Jews with unwavering solidarity. We endorse no party.

“We refuse to vote Labour on December 12,” the letter concluded

The other signatories are Fay Weldon, William Boyd, Antony Beevor, Sathnam Sanghera, Janina Ramirez, Trevor Phillips, Suzannah Lipscomb, Tom Holland, Peter Frankopan, Ghanem Nuseibeh, Dan Snow, Fiyaz Mughal, Tony Parsons, Dan Jones, Maajid Nawaz, Oz Katerji, Nick Hewer, Ed Husain and Terry Jervis.

-with AAP