Jeremy Corbyn

UK Labour set to split over anti-Semitism, Brexit - source

Five MPs said ready to break away and form new party, a move that is thought likely to trigger further wave of resignations from party divided since Corbyn won leadership in 2015.

LONDON - A group of British opposition Labour lawmakers will on Monday announce they are leaving the party over leader Jeremy Corbyn's approach to Brexit and a row over anti-Semitism, a source said, adding more resignations could follow.



The small group, possibly about five lawmakers, will make the announcement later on Monday, after weeks of growing calls for Corbyn to change strategy and start campaigning for a second referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. Reports in the UK say that the core group of MPs includes Jewish lawmaker Luciana Berger, who has faced repeated harassment and abuse online for speaking out against anti-Semitism in her party.


Luciana Berger
Luciana Berger


Corbyn, a self-styled veteran peace campaigner, has been accused by some lawmakers for failing to tackle anti-Semitism in the party, an allegation that has dogged the pro-Palestinian politician since he became leader in 2015.


The Labour leader, whose anti-Israel stance is no secret, last year denied visiting the graves of the terrorists behind the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Massacre, but photos published by the Daily Mail days later showed him at a 2014 memorial service in Tunisia for members of the Black September terror organization that carried out the murders.


In photos taken a year before Corbyn was elected as the leader of the Labour Party, he is seen holding a wreath over the grave of Atef Bseiso, the head of intelligence for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), who helped plan the attack at the Munich Olympics, which claimed the lives of 11 Israeli athletes.


Jeremy Corbyn at the grave of the Munich massacre mastermind
Jeremy Corbyn at the grave of the Munich massacre mastermind


Source close to Corbyn insisted to the Daily Mail that the 2014 service he attended commemorated the 47 Palestinians killed in an Israeli air strike on a Tunisian PLO base in 1985.


Second wave of resignations

The Labour source, close to the group, said Monday's departures could trigger a second wave of resignations, underlining the frustration over Corbyn's approach to Britain's biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years.


Corbyn has so far stuck to Labour policy to keep the option of a second referendum "on the table" if Prime Minister Theresa May's government fails to secure a deal with Brussels that can pass through parliament.


His first choice is a new election but he has also called on May to change her "red lines" and for her to embrace his plan for a permanent customs union with the EU - something the prime minister has so far refused to do.


Britain's 2016 referendum, which saw 52 percent of voters back leaving the EU, has deeply divided both of the country's main parties, with both leaders struggling to preserve any unity in Labour and Conservative ranks.


The prospect of holding such a second referendum poses a challenge for Corbyn: while many of the party's members fervently back a so-called People's vote, others just want Britain to leave as soon as possible.


Ynet contributed to this report 


פרסום ראשון: 02.18.19, 11:22
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