The UK’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to investigate claims that shadow international development secretary Dan Carden sang “Hey Jews” to the tune of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” during a coach trip in March 2018.
“Dan Carden has emphatically denied that. It is an awful story and if it’s true it is utterly and totally unacceptable. I am looking into it,” Corbyn said when he was on the campaign trail in Leeds on Saturday.
He spoke as Carden vehemently rejected denied the allegations of his singing anti-Semitic lyrics as he, a shadow minister at the time, returned to London from Cheltenham races in a bus which also carried a Buzzfeed journalist who reported the story.
“I have been categorical in my denial about allegations relating to a coach trip some twenty months ago,” Carden claimed.
He insisted that the trip was “full of journalists and MPs” and that “if anyone genuinely believed any anti-Semitic behaviour had taken place, they would’ve had a moral responsibility to report it immediately”.
He said that he wonders why Buzzfeed had only been broke the news “when a [UK] general election is imminent”, instead of publishing the piece in March 2018.
“I stand by my record as an anti-racist campaigner. I would never be part of any behaviour that undermines my commitment to fighting racism in all its forms,” Carden pointed out.
Buzzfeed responded by singling out “fresh antisemitism allegations” pertaining to Labour Party candidates and reports of Carden possibly replacing outgoing deputy party leader Tom Watson.
Labour whip Mark Tami, for his part, asserted that he “was on the bus and didn’t hear any singing of this nature.”
Two Labour Members Pull Out of Election Race Due to Anti-Semitism Allegations
The developments comes a few days after Gideon Bull, a Labour parliamentary candidate and a councillor from the London borough of Haringey, withdrew from standing in the general election following accusations that he used the insulting term “Shylock,” a reference to the Shakespearean Jewish moneylender, at a meeting where a Jewish councillor was present.
Another Labour candidate Kate Ramsden stood down in the Scottish constituency of Gordon after was put under investigation over a blogpost that compared Israel to “an abused child who becomes an abusive adult.”
In a separate development, Corbyn told The Guardian last week that Jews have nothing to fear should his party claim a majority in a new December Parliament after the general elections. The statement followed reports that many members of the Jewish community would consider leaving the UK if this scenario sees the light of day.
Over the past couple of years, Labour has been facing allegations of anti-Semitism, with an array of party members suspended after it was revealed they had been involved in anti-Semitic actions.
Corbyn has consistently rejected the accusations, pledging to redouble efforts to fight anti-Semitism in his party.