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18th Jul 2018

Veteran Jewish Labour MP tells Corbyn “you’re a f***ing anti-semite” in Commons

James Dawson

“You have proved you don’t want people like me in the party”

Jeremy Corbyn was told he was “a fucking anti-semite” by a veteran Jewish MP on Tuesday night following Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee’s (NEC) decision to uphold new guidelines on tackling anti-semitism.

The introduction of the new guidelines led to MP Dame Margaret Hodge launching a tirade against her party leader away from TV cameras following a Commons votes on Brexit last night.

The party’s ruling body had chosen to endorse new rules on Jew-hatred and abuse earlier in the day. However, the decision has proved controversial as – although the policy states that “anti-Semitism is racism” and it is “unacceptable” – it does not conform to the full definition of anti-semitism drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

“You’re a fucking anti-Semite and a racist,” Hodge told Corbyn behind the speaker’s chair, according to Huff Post. “You have proved you don’t want people like me in the party”. It is believed that Corbyn replied: “I’m sorry you feel like that.”

A senior Labour source confirmed a confrontation between the pair occurred, with Hodge reported to have been angry and Corbyn to have remained calm.

Although Labour has accepted the bulk of the IHRA’s working definition of anti-semitism, the controversy over the new guidelines relates to the omission of four behaviours likely to be regarded as anti-Semitic by the IHRA. Labour’s definition of antisemitism does not include the following:

  • Accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country
  • Claiming that Israel’s existence as a state is a racist endeavour
  • Requiring higher standards of behaviour from Israel than other nations
  • Comparing contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis

Earlier this week, a number of the UK’s senior rabbis sent a joint letter to the Labour leadership, accusing it of acting in “the most insulting and arrogant way” by rewriting an internationally-adopted definition of anti-semitism.