Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger has said that she feels ‘unwelcome’ after a video emerged showing Jeremy Corbyn accusing British Zionists of having “no sense of English irony”.
Ms Berger has said that the Labour leader’s comments, in a 2013 speech, were completely “inexcusable”.
The clip was published in the Daily Mail and features a speech where Mr Corbyn recalled a disagreement between some Zionists and the Palestinian representative to the UK, Manuel Hassassian, following a speech Mr Hassassian had made in Parliament.
In the speech, Corbyn said that 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.”
The release of the video, resulted is Ms Berger taking to Twitter to express her displeasure at her leader:
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.
— Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) August 23, 2018
She has since been joined by others from her party, who have also taken to Twitter:
The language used here is inexcusable and abhorrent. The same old hackneyed quotes from a spokesperson won’t do. I wasn’t silent when Boris Johnson insulted my Muslim constituents and I won’t remain silent when Labour’s Leader insults my Jewish constituents. This is plain wrong. https://t.co/oLHN0Zxlt9
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) August 23, 2018
— Catherine McKinnell (@CatMcKinnell) August 23, 2018
I share Luciana’s dismay. This video exposes an attitude towards British Jews from @UKLabour leader which would not be tolerated if aimed at any other minority in Britain. For some on the left their anti Zionism legitimises their anti semitism. Where is the outrage of the rest? https://t.co/zy4VY5HnOy
— Ivan Lewis (@IvanLewis_MP) August 24, 2018
An ally of Mr Corbyn said his remarks had been “taken out of context”.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the focus should not be on what Mr Corbyn said five years ago, before he became party leader, but on tackling anti-Semitism in British society, including within Labour.
A Labour spokesman said Mr Corbyn had been “referring to a group of pro-Israel activists misunderstanding – and then criticising – the Palestinian ambassador for a speech at a separate event about the occupation of the West Bank”.
Earlier this month, Mr Corbyn apologised over an event he hosted in 2010 where a Holocaust survivor compared Israel to Nazism.