A FORMER Labour cabinet minister has slammed Jeremy Corbyn and his team as “intellectually arrogant, emotionally inept and politically maladroit”.
The scathing attack by ex-Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy comes amid Labour’s continued failure to root out antisemitism within its ranks.
Mr Murphy makes a 900-plus word apology to the Jewish community, appearing as a full page advertisement in today’s Glasgow edition of the Jewish Telegraph and on our Facebook page.
The MP for East Renfrewshire from 1997-2015 said: “My party appears to have deliberately turned its back on British Jewry — it’s as inexplicable as it is destructive.
“And when in a hole of its own making, rather than stopping digging, Labour’s leadership has asked for a bigger shovel.”
Mr Murphy, who was a government minister under Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, added: “The Labour Party should have an important role in challenging antisemitism.
“But instead, British Labour’s top-team has shown itself to be intellectually arrogant, emotionally inept and politically maladroit.”
Mr Murphy, who also served as Shadow Secretary for Defence and for International Development under former leader Ed Miliband in 2014, also spoke of his anger at how the current Labour leadership “does so much damage to Labour's relationship with British Jewry”.
He explained how Labour’s insistence on changing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism “really does matter and why Labour must change course”.
He continued: “I've always been angered by the way in which British Jews are held to account for the actions of a government of a foreign country, of which they’re not citizens and whose government they’ve played no role in choosing.
“That country is Israel.
“Of course, I know that many — but not all — British Jews have a genuine affection for Israel.
“But anti-Jewish racists argue that somehow a Jew in Britain, because they are a Jew, cannot be 100 per cent committed to Britain as a consequence of their faith.
“It’s as if an attachment to the Torah and Talmud means they have less of a connection to the UK.
“Worse still is that this prejudice argues that British Jews may be more loyal to a foreign state than to their own, and I’ve always believed this odious assertion to be antisemitic — the IHRA definition comes to a similar conclusion.”
Acknowledging that he will face a public backlash for his comments, he clarified that, while he did not back Mr Corbyn to become leader of the Labour Party, he hasn’t once offered a “single public criticism” of his policies since leaving front-line politics in 2015.
Mr Murphy said of Mr Corbyn: “He is the elected leader and, along with the Shadow Cabinet, has the opportunity to shape party policy.
“But no party leader has the right to shatter the relationship between Labour and British Jewry.
“The Jewish community and everyone else who is offended by Labour’s stance are being asked to accept quarter-baked, platitudinous Labour apologies for the upset that has been caused.
“Instead, what’s needed urgently is Labour action against the sickening anti-Jewish racism that is the actual cause of the offence in the first place.”