Jeremy Corbyn was accused of antisemitism by a Jewish businesswoman yesterday as video emerged showing him sharing a platform with an activist who described Jews as “immoral”.
The Labour leader’s speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) was overshadowed when he was asked to prove the party “isn’t just for the many but not the Jew”.
Mr Corbyn angrily defended his record, claiming: “I’ve spent my life opposing racism in any form”.
But within hours, footage taken at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign rally in Trafalgar Square in 2008 emerged showing him on stage briefly embracing Ismail Patel, who has previously denied Hamas is a terrorist group.
Seconds before, Mr Patel had said: “We see the impact of Zionism on Palestinians, but it has had a devastating effect on the Jewish community itself.
“It has made them immoral in justice.”
Last night The Conservatives said the video undermined Mr Corbyn’s claim to be an anti-racist, saying: “Voters should not believe a word Jeremy Corbyn said.”
It comes amid an investigation into the party by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission over antisemitism complaints, and days after the veteran former Labour MP Ian Austin urged people to vote Tory thanks to the problem issue.
Mr Corbyn’s impassioned response at the CBI followed a question from Hannah Kaufman, a former board member of the Union of Jewish Students.
Reminding Mr Corbyn of a poll which showed 85 per cent of British Jews believe he is antisemetic, Ms Kaufman, a PR consultant, said: “I wanted to ask what are you going to be doing personally to demonstrate about racism and anti-semitism and to show that labour isn’t just for the many but no the Jew.”
Mr Corbyn said: “"Racism is a scourge and an evil for all of us in our lives. It's an evil within our society, be it anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or any form of racism.
"I've spent my life opposing racism in any form.
“Be it done by the far-right or by the random attacks on individuals, or against a man that was murdered outside my house because he happened to be a Muslim and there happened to be a racist person driving a vehicle that thought it was OK to drive into a crowd of worshippers.”
It came as former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned of “poison” increasingly infecting” national life, saying that rebuilding national unity will require "tackling head-on divisive nationalisms and racism - not least with new laws to root out anti-Semitism and Islamophobia".
Andrew Percy, the Conservative vice-chairman of the all-party group on anti-Semitism, said: “Rebuilding national unity will require "tackling head-on divisive nationalisms and racism - not least with new laws to root out anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.”
“Voters should not believe a word Jeremy Corbyn says.
"He claims that he has spent his life opposing racism in any form, yet just hours later we see footage of him sharing a stage with a speaker claiming Jewish people to be “immoral”.
“This is absolutely appalling from Corbyn and underlines just how common anti-Semitic racism has become within his party.”