Europe

Former British PM Gordon Brown: Labour Owes Jewish Community Unqualified Apology

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called on the Labour Party to “automatically expel anti-Semites” and said the organization, which he led from 2007 to 2010, “owes the Jewish community an unqualified apology” over virulent anti-Jewish hate in a damning indictment of the current leadership.

In a speech delivered to a packed audience Sunday for the 17th annual Isaiah Berlin Lecture in London, Brown made clear that anti-Semitism must be called out by all for what it is: “racism – and in this case, anti-Jewish racism.”

The former Labour leader minced no words when he said: “To the Jewish community, we promised ‘never again’. We promised that the crimes of hatred, discrimination, and persecution would never recur.

“But at a time when attacks on Jewish schools have risen 100 per cent, attacks on or near Jewish synagogues 400 per cent, and attacks are carried out on social media thousands of times over, we have not lived up to that promise.”

Since Jeremy Corbyn took over the Labour leadership in 2015, the party has been embroiled in an ongoing row over anti-Semitism.

Corbyn famously called the designated terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas “friends”; invited Palestinian hate preacher Raed Salah to tea in parliament; shared a stage with Dyab Abou Jajah, a Lebanese activist who said Europe had made “the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshiping its alternative religion”; donated money to an anti-Israel group led by a Holocaust denier; and laid a wreath on the grave of a PLO terrorist involved in the 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli athletes.

Corbyn also cashed in on his television show hosted by state-owned Iranian Press TV.

In his speech, Brown stressed that, “We cannot go on ignoring the consequences of the upsurge in hate and hate speech” and said an apology to the Jewish community would only be “a starting point in rebuilding trust.”

He called for a broad strategy, including better education in schools and tougher laws against racism in all its forms. “Opposing anti-Semitism and every manifestation of racism goes to the heart of who we are and what we stand for as Labour,” he explained.

He promised the Jewish community that “whenever prejudice and intolerance arise, I and whomever I can persuade are not going to remain silent or stand aside or desert the Jewish community.”