May Calls for Corbyn to Address Anti-Semitism in U.K. Labour

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Theresa May called on U.K. opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn to address anti-Semitism in his Labour Party, weighing in on a row that’s flared up over the summer Parliamentary recess.

The U.K. media has spent the summer uncovering past appearances by Corbyn on platforms alongside people who have expressed anti-Semitic views. Last week, the Daily Mail published a 2013 clip of Corbyn speaking at the Palestinian Return Centre in London, during which he said that a group of British Zionists didn’t understand “English irony.” That led Jewish Labour lawmaker Luciana Berger to tweet that she felt unwelcome in her own party.

Former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, now a member of the House of Lords, told the New Statesman this week that the comments were “divisive” and “hateful.”

“Anti-Semitism is racism. We should all condemn racism in all its forms,” May told reporters in Nigeria, where she was on a visit. “Lord Sacks was a long-standing chief rabbi, he raised significant concerns but it’s not just him -- members of the Labour Party have raised concerns as well. I think the leader of the Labour Party needs to respond to those concerns.”

While Labour’s struggles with anti-Semitism have gone on for months, the revelations over the summer have touched directly on Corbyn, and May was reacting publicly to them for the first time.

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