‘As a British Jew it makes me feel unwelcome in my own party’: Labour MP Luciana Berger attacks Corbyn for his ‘inexcusable comments’ after video shows him saying UK ‘Zionists’ have ‘no sense of English irony’
- Corbyn spoke at conference advertised by a website of Hamas’ military wing
- Labour leader said British ‘Zionists’ didn’t understand ‘English irony’ in 2013
- Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger has slammed his remarks in Twitter tirade
- The MP for Liverpool Wavertree said she felt ‘unwelcome’ in her own party
- She said she once received 2,500 hate messages in the space of three days
A Jewish Labour MP has attacked Jeremy Corbyn after he accused British Zionists of having ‘no sense of irony’ despite having ‘lived in Britain all of their lives’.
The former shadow minister for public health Luciana Berger lashed out over the 2013 clip, filmed at a London conference which was promoted by the propaganda website of terror group Hamas.
Making her most outspoken attack on the Labour leader to date, she said she felt ‘unwelcome’ in her own party after his ‘inexcusable comments’.
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Luciana Berger, the MP for Liverpool Wavertree, slammed the Labour leader for his comments from 2013 at a London conference promoted by the propaganda website of terror group Hamas
Two Labour MPs also broke ranks to show their support for the MP Liverpool Wavertree, who is a fierce critic of anti-Semitism.
MP for Newcastle North Catherine McKinnell said she was ‘standing right with’ Berger and MP for Sedgefield Phil Wilson tweeted ‘Right beside you’.
Berger wrote on Twitter in response to the footage: ‘The video released today of the leader of @UKLabour making inexcusable comments – defended by a party spokesman – makes me as a proud British Jew feel unwelcome in my own party. I’ve lived in Britain all my life and I don’t need any lessons in history/irony.’
Her post attracted thousands of comments, with many aggressively telling her to leave the party.
‘Resign then.. good riddance if you do.. see yer,’ wrote one person.
Another said: ‘Oh stop with this emotive BS woman’.
Solidarity: MP for Sedgefield Phil Wilson tweeted ‘Right beside you @lucianaberger’
MP for Newcastle North Catherine McKinnell said she was ‘standing right with’ Berger
Allegations of hostility toward Jews in the party have dogged Corbyn’s leadership and Berger was one of the MPs to report abuse they received to Parliament in April.
One internet troll, 21-year-old Garron Helm, was jailed for sending Berger anti-Semitic messages in October 2014.
The controversy comes after MailOnline exclusively revealed the Labour leader said five years ago before rising to prominence: ‘[British Zionists] clearly have two problems. One is they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either.’
He added: ‘They needed two lessons, which we could perhaps help them with.’
Recalling a disagreement between some ‘Zionists’ and the Palestinian ambassador, Manuel Hassassian, following a speech by Hassassian in Parliament, Corbyn said:
Jeremy Corbyn makes his controversial remarks. On the far right is Daud Abdullah, who called for attacks on the Royal Navy and led a boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day. In the centre is Stephen Sizer, who suggested that Israel was behind the 9/11 attack
Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the conference, left. Daud Abdullah , right, has called for attacks on the Royal Navy and led a boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day
The controversial 2013 conference advertised on the propaganda website of the Hamas military wing
‘[Hassassian’s speech] was dutifully recorded by the thankfully silent Zionists who were in the audience on that occasion, and then came up and berated him afterwards for what he’d said.’
Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, said: ‘This shows the reality of what Jeremy Corbyn thinks of Jews, somehow a breed apart from ‘normal’ English people.’
Pollard added that he believed the Labour leader ‘used the word ‘Zionist’ obviously to mean ‘Jews’.’
Jonathan Sacerdoti, who was a founding trustee of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, and who is now an anti-racism campaigner, said: ‘The idea that British Jews somehow haven’t absorbed British values is outrageous.
‘To doubt our Britishness because we disagree with your controversial views on Palestine, when you are the one fraternising with extremists, is deeply anti-Semitic. British Jews are right to be scared.’
Why is Labour’s new code of conduct on anti-Semitism so controversial?
The Labour anti-Semitism row erupted again after the party leadership refused to fully adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition.
The party’s code explicitly endorses the IHRA definition, but it omits four examples from the IHRA list:
– Accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country;
– Claiming that Israel’s existence as a state is a racist endeavour;
– Requiring higher standards of behaviour from Israel than other nations; and
– Comparing contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis.
Labour insisted that while the examples are not reproduced word-for-word, they are covered in the new code.
But critics say the decision allows anti-Semitism to continue to fester.
The Labour leader made the comments at a conference at Friends House in Euston. The event was advertised online by Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades, which is designated a terrorist group by Britain, the EU, the United States and other countries.
In one of the speeches, made by 9/11 conspiracy theorist Alan Hart, ‘Zionism’ was described as a ‘cancer at the heart of international affairs’. It was also called a ‘monster’ and compared to Nazi Germany.
The programme of speakers included a range of anti-Semites, homophobes and conspiracy theorists.
Several were connected to Hamas. One called for attacks on the Royal Navy in the past, and led a boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day.
In addition, a number have been formerly associated with the Labour leader, or supported by him.
One listed speaker was Ibrahim Hewitt, who wrote a pamphlet in 1994 branding homosexuality a ‘great sin’ comparable to paedophilia and incest, which should be ‘severely punished’. The pamphlet was most recently reprinted in 2004.
Speaking at a pro-Palestinian event in East London in February 2013, Corbyn called him a ‘very good friend‘.
Another speaker, Reverend Stephen Sizer, was later banned from social media after suggesting that Israel was behind the 9/11 attack on the twin towers.
Corbyn wrote a letter defending him, saying he was ‘under attack’ by a pro-Israeli smear campaign.
CAMPAIGN AGAINST ANTI-SEMITISM STATEMENT
Gideon Falter, chair of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, said:
‘Jeremy Corbyn’s xenophobic portrayal of ‘Zionists’ as foreign to Britain and recognisable by their ignorance and humourlessness is utterly shameful, even by his low standards.
‘It is precisely this euphemistic use of the word ‘Zionist’ to refer to Jews and direct smears at us which used to be the preserve of anti-Semites amongst the aristocracy.
‘This shows yet again that Jeremy Corbyn just does not get Jews and the concerns of the Jewish community.
‘It is plain that he is an anti-Semite, under whose leadership the once anti-racist Labour Party has become institutionally antisemitic.
‘The great leaders of the Labour movement of old would be appalled to see how he has traversed their legacy.’
Alison Weir, an American anti-Israel campaigner who has been disowned by a number of Left-wing peace groups because of her alleged links to white supremacists, also gave a speech at the event.
Other speakers included Daud Abdullah, who signed a letter saying that the Royal Navy should be attacked if it tried to help prevent weapons from being smuggled to terror groups in Gaza. In 2007, he led a boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day.
Corbyn has been pictured with Abdullah at other events, including a seminar held at Parliament six months before he was elected leader of the Labour party, which MailOnline exposed earlier this week.
Also present at the conference was Sameh Habeeb, the founder and editor of the Palestine Telegraph, who was suspended by Labour and dropped as an election candidate in April after he was accused of sharing anti-Semitic material.
Leaflets were on display at the 2013 event which appeared to advertise an organisation run by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, another former associate of the Labour leader.
MailOnline has previously revealed how Eisen claimed that Corbyn supported him for 15 years and donated to his campaign, something the Labour leader has denied.
The explosive revelations will increase the pressure on Corbyn to resign as he struggles to contain the anti-Semitism crisis engulfing his party.
Jeremy Corbyn listens attentively to another of the speakers at the 2013 conference in London
Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) has demanded that Corbyn apologise for his presence at the event. Jennifer Gerber, director of the LFI, said:
‘The thousands of Israelis who have family members killed by Hamas terrorism will not understand why Mr Corbyn believes these are suitable people to associate with.’
The conference was organised by the Palestine Return Centre (PRC), a controversial pressure group with close links to both Hamas and Corbyn.
A pamphlet by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen at the event. MailOnline previously revealed how Corbyn allegedly gave him a donation, which the Labour leader denied
In 2009, the PRC caused outrage when it invited the Hungarian fascist and Jobbik MEP Krisztina Morvai, a close ally of BNP figurehead Nick Griffin, to speak at one of its anti-Israel events.
At another PRC in 2013, Corbyn compared Israel’s occupation of the West Bank to the Nazi takeover of Europe. Labour said that he was referring to all WWII occupations, not just those ordered by Hitler.
The group has also invited Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas terror chief, to attend an event in Holland, but he was barred entry by Dutch authorities.
The conference where Corbyn made his remarks was led by Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian official who recently demanded that Labour refuse to adopt the internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism.
Other speakers at the event included the academic Garda Kharmi, who has defended comparing Israel to the Nazis. In a lecture last year, she said:
‘The Jews were not wanted in Europe. They were an unpopular, unloved people, who were off-loaded into the [Middle East].’
Also appearing was Sabagh al-Mukhtar, a lawyer who gave expert witness in support of hate preacher Abu Hamza before he was deported from Britain.
Another speaker was Majed al-Zeer, head of the PRC, who is close to the Hamas leadership. He has been pictured with its terror chief, Ismail Haniyeh, who sent him a message of congratulations when the PRC was legitimised by the UN.
Alan Hart, a further speaker, believed that Mossad was behind the 9/11 attacks, and referred to ‘Zionism’ as a ‘monster’ and a ‘cancer at the heart of international affairs’.
A Labour spokesman said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn has a long and principled record of solidarity with the Palestinian people and engaging with actors in the conflict to support peace and justice in the Middle East. That is the right thing to do.’
STATEMENT FROM LABOUR FRIENDS OF ISRAEL (LFI)
Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, said:
‘It is extremely worrying that Mr Corbyn chose to attend this convention of pro-Hamas extremists, anti-Israel haters, and antisemitic conspiracy theorists, which was promoted by a proscribed terror group.
‘The thousands of Israelis who have family members killed by Hamas terrorism will not understand why Mr Corbyn believes these are suitable people to associate with, nor should anyone who wants to see peace in the Middle East.
‘Mr Corbyn should apologise for his attendance immediately.’