Jeremy Corbyn answers critics' 'ludicrous and wrong' anti-semitism questions

Mr Corbyn was asked about meeting with Paul Eisen and Raed Salah

Jon Stone
Tuesday 18 August 2015 18:59
comments
Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn

The frontrunner for the Labour leadership has answered a series of questions posed by his critics about alleged “links” to people with anti-Semitic views.

In an interview with Channel 4 News Jeremy Corbyn said the allegations were “ludicrous and wrong”.

The questions, published by the Jewish Chronicle newspaper last week, regarded allegations that Mr Corbyn had met and donated money to holocaust denier Paul Eisen and defended allegedly anti-semitic Muslim cleric Raed Salah.

Mr Corbyn said he had attended meetings of a group run by Mr Eisen commemorating a massacre of Palestinian Arabs by militants but that this had taken place before Mr Eisen had made any anti-Semitic views known.

Labour leadership hopefuls: Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall

He said that if he had donated any money it would have been by giving money to a collection bucket.

“I have no contact now whatsoever with Paul Eisen and Deir Yassin Remembered. I did attend a number of events concerning Deir Yassin Remembered some years ago, I think two or three of them,” he said.

“Fifteen years ago [Eisen] was not a Holocaust denier. Had he been a Holocaust denier, I would have had absolutely nothing to do with him. I was moved by the plight of people who had lost their village in Deir Yassin.”

“Holocaust denial is vile and wrong. The Holocaust was the most vile part of our history. The Jewish people killed by the Nazi Holocaust were the people who suffered the most in the 20th century.”

On the issue of Mr Corbyn’s meeting with Raed Salah, the candidate said he was unaware of any conviction for anti-Semitism at the time.

“We had quite a long conversation and I made my views very clear. He did not at any stage utter any antisemitic remarks to me,” he explained.

A group of Jewish critics of Israel today wrote a letter to the Jewish Chronicle in support of Mr Corbyn.

“There is something deeply unpleasant and dishonest about your McCarthyite guilt by association technique,” they said.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s parliamentary record over 32 years has consistently opposed all racism including antisemitism.”

The signatories, who include the activist Tony Greenstein, author Michael Rosen, and academic Haim Bresheeth said Mr Corbyn had “nothing to apologise for”.

Polls suggest Mr Corbyn is likely to win the Labour leadership election. The other candidates are Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall, and Yvette Cooper.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments