British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has apologized for hosting a 2010 event in Parliament on Holocaust Memorial Day where speakers compared Israel’s treatment of Gaza Palestinians to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews.
Corbyn, a hard-left politician, for many months has been fighting accusations of harbouring anti-Semitic sentiments, and his party has come under intense scrutiny in the media over anti-Semitic rhetoric by party members.
The Parliament event, which was covered at the time by the London-based Jewish Chronicle, was reported on Tuesday by the British daily newspaper The Times.
The talk was titled “Never Again — for Anyone,” part of a UK tour called “Never Again for Anyone — Auschwitz to Gaza”.
The main speaker was Hajo Meyer, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz who became a passionate anti-Zionist and repeatedly during the speech on “The Misuse of the Holocaust for Political Purposes” made the comparison between the Nazi regime and Israeli policy.
“Views were expressed at the meeting which I do not accept or condone,” Corbyn said in a statement issued Wednesday.
“In the past, in pursuit of justice for the Palestinian people and peace in Israel/Palestine, I have on occasion appeared on platforms with people whose views I completely reject. I apologize for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused,” the statement said.
Labour has come under intense scrutiny in the media over anti-Semitic rhetoric by party members. In 2016, an inter parliamentary committee accused Labour of creating a “safe space for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people.”
Corbyn, who has called Hezbollah and Hamas his “friends,” has maintained that Labour will not tolerate racist rhetoric by its members. Dozens were kicked out over anti-Semitic statements. However, the party has kept on many Labour members whom Jewish community leaders said engaged in anti-Semitic hate speech.