Jewish Labour supporter insists there's "no evidence" Labour is led by anti-Semites

26 November 2019, 15:23 | Updated: 26 November 2019, 16:33

Shelagh Fogarty questions Jewish Labour supporter and political think-tank chief Jonathan Lis over his insistence that there is no evidence Labour is led by anti-Semites.

Jonathan Lis said he would never judge or condemn any Jewish person for no longer feeling able to stay in the Labour party.

He insisted: "There has to be a way we can tackle anti-Semitism while still ensuring we have a progressive government in this country which is going to protect the rights of minorities for everyone."

Mr Lis also wanted to prevent voters from the "xenophobic policies that the Conservative party stands on", referencing the Windrush scandal, and accused the party of suddenly jumping on the band-waggon.

"I find it profoundly offensive as a Jewish person when people who have promoted racist, exclusionary policies their whole careers presume to defend my interests. They simply do not," he said.

Shelagh asked Mr Lis how he could square Jeremy Corbyn's "blind eye to that mural" which was anti-Semitic; former Labour member Luciana Berger tweeted a picture of the mural and Corbyn's response in 2018. The Labour leader has since called the image "deeply disturbing."

Mr Lis said: "I think Jeremy Corbyn has been extremely careless, particularly in the time before he became Labour leader. I don't think he was overtly malicious." He continued that his passionate campaigning on the Palestinian issue which "clouded his judgement."

Shelagh said that anti-Semitism is disgusting and she can't understand that a party who wants to fix homelessness, austerity and poverty "can fail to get a grip and say the right things about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism."

Mr Lis conceded that Mr Corbyn was "much too quick to assert bad faith on the part of his critics" when these accusations arose; "but I don't think it follows that the Labour party is necessarily institutionally anti-Semitic."

He also said that the Tory party has a long history of anti-Semitism "where the Jews were accused of being against ordinary people" and no matter what, we need a Labour government.