By Iclal Turan
LONDON (AA) – A group of around 500 people gathered in front of the British parliament Monday to protest Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whom they have accused of “siding with antisemites “.
The protesters, who were urged to rally by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council gathered in Parliament Square, calling Corbyn to take action against alleged antisemitism within his party.
The antisemitism accusations referred to a Facebook comment of apparent support made by Corbyn about an allegedly antisemitic public mural in East London in 2012.
The Labour leader issued an apology on Sunday night.
“I recognise that anti-Semitism has surfaced within the Labour Party, and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples,” Corbyn wrote.
“This has caused pain and hurt to Jewish members of our party and to the wider Jewish community in Britain. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused, and pledge to redouble my efforts to bring this anxiety to an end. ”
The Labour leader also said “newer forms of anti-Semitism have been woven into criticism of Israeli governments. ”
“Criticism of Israel, particularly in relation to the continuing dispossession of the Palestinian people, cannot be avoided, ” he said.
“Nevertheless, comparing Israel or the actions of Israeli governments to the Nazis, attributing criticisms of Israel to Jewish characteristics or to Jewish people in general and using abusive phraseology about supporters of Israel such as 'Zio' all constitute aspects of contemporary anti-Semitism.
“And Jewish people must not be held responsible or accountable for the actions of the Israeli government. ”
Labour MPs Liz Kendall, Ruth Smeeth and John Woodcock also attended the protest.
“Apology is no longer enough. We need to see action. Enough is enough,” a spokesperson for the protesters said.
Meanwhile The Jewish for Labour group supported Corbyn in a statement:“They [protesters] do not represent us or the many Jews in the Party who share Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for social justice and fairness,” it said.