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    Jeremy Corbyn poses for photographers upon arrival at the GQ's Men of The Year awards, in London, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.

    UK Jewish Leaders Call Meeting With Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn Disappointing

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    In a bid to stamp out anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, leader Jeremy Corbyn met with Jewish leaders. However they have been critical of the meeting as they believe no action has been agreed upon. Sputnik spoke to Steven Fielding Professor of Political History at University of Nottingham about how the Labour party in the UK can tackle the issue.

    The two hour meeting was aimed at trying to defuse the row over anti-Jewish abuse in the Labour party. Jeremy Corbyn had been assertive saying he was determined to stamp it out.

    But after the meeting the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews said Mr Corbyn had failed to agree to any of the concrete actions they had demanded he take.

    Sputnik: What did you make of the statement by the Jewish community about it being a missed opportunity?

    Steven Fielding:  Well it wasn't the kind of statement that Jeremy Corbyn was looking for, but what it did was it expressed their frustration. Jeremy Corbyn said he wants to tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour party, but there problem was that he wasn't ready to take active steps to actually manifest that and to an extent you can see that Jeremy Corbyn's got issues, because people who are accused of anti-Semitism there has to be a due process by which there case is looked at and if they are going to be expelled from the labour party or suspended before being expelled then there has to be proper legal means of establishing that these decisions have been arrived at through due process. To be fair to Jeremy Corbyn there are some conditions that he has to operate in otherwise you will get people like Ken Livingstone who is currently suspended and been suspended for a long time, if he is just kicked out without due process he would probably sue the labour party. There are things that the Jewish organisations hope that he could do that don't rely on due process, he could make certain statements about the use of the term Zionism as a term of abuse and intervene more directly when people like the MP Chris Williamson who is a Corbyn supporter who does go on to platforms with people who have been expelled from the Labour Party for anti-Semitism in support of them, he could directly say to his MP's, do not go on to platforms with people who have been expelled because of anti-Semitism. 

    Sputnik: How can he and the party have an impact on wider anti-Semitism and racism in the UK?

    Steven Fielding: Within the Labour party itself, if there is ever an expression of anti-Semitism or people accused of anti-Semitism there is a quick process. First of all there is a definition of anti-Semitism is generally and then a quick process and that's a tone however that the leader of the labour party can express in terms of he has supporters who have particular views on Israel and the state of Israel and Zionism and there interpretation of Zionism which in some cases leads them to use anti-Semitic tropes and phrases. As leader he could be more firm in terms of saying these are things that are unacceptable and intervene with those people as leader of the Labour party.

    Sputnik: What impact will the ongoing row have on the party and his leadership?

    Steven Fielding: When there's news coverage discussing the labour party it will often be about this issue. What it will do and this is during a run up to local elections, which the Labour party hope to do quite well in, it will divert attention away from the positive message that the party wants to get out. What it will do for Jeremy Corbyn himself, it taints him, because his relative inaction in terms of addressing the issue in a way the Jewish community deem adequate, then it taints him with that rather unfortunate sense of, is he anti-Semitic himself, what's wrong with the labour party itself if it's home to people who are anti-Semitic.

    The opinions expressed are those of speakers alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik News.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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