Britain’s Labour Party adopted an internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism on Tuesday, trying to defuse a made-up controversy that has deepened rifts and heaped pressure on its leader at a time when the government is struggling over Brexit.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights, has been under fire for not fully adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism.
Corbyn has responded to protests by meeting Jewish community leaders, reassuring Jewish people they are welcome in the party. He has previously apologized for what he has described as “pockets” of anti-Semitism in his party. He has promised to drive anti-Semitism out of Labour, but the pledges have done little to quieten his critics, with some using it as a pretext to demand his resignation.
Corbyn was unexpectedly elected leader in 2015, riding a wave of enthusiasm for change that has spread across Europe with voters flocking to anti-establishment movements that have emerged since the 2008 global financial crisis.
Since then, he has cemented his control over the party’s structures, able to entrench his move to the left after leading Labour to a surprising success in last year’s election by depriving Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives of a parliamentary majority.
But his leadership of the party has also angered many of his lawmakers in parliament, where many want the Labour Party to adopt a softer position on Brexit and better represent those who voted to remain in the EU in a 2016 referendum.
Top Photo | Britain’s Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn waves as he arrives at Labour party headquarters in London, Friday, June 9, 2017. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s gamble in calling an early election backfired spectacularly, as her Conservative Party lost its majority in Parliament and pressure mounted on her Friday to resign. (AP/Frank Augstein)