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3 Apr, 2018 14:33

MPs face anti-Semitism criticism after attacking Corbyn over Passover event with ‘bad Jews’

MPs face anti-Semitism criticism after attacking Corbyn over Passover event with ‘bad Jews’

The tables have turned: Two MPs who slammed Jeremy Corbyn for breaking bread with 'non-mainstream' Jewish group Jewdas are being called anti-Semitic on Twitter for their apparent distinction between of "good Jews" and "bad Jews."

Labour MPs John Woodcock and Angela Smith took to Twitter on Tuesday to condemn their party leader for spending Passover with Jewdas in his home constituency of Islington. Woodcock said Corbyn's attendance at the celebration was "deliberately baiting the mainstream Jewish community days after they pleaded with him to tackle anti-Semitism" and described it as "irresponsible and dangerous."

Smith said it was "a blatant dismissal of the case made for tackling anti-Semitism in Labour."

The duo, who were jumping on the bandwagon after protests against Corbyn last week that were organized by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, have been met with ire on some sections of Twitter. Users raised one simple question for the two MPs: How can the people Corbyn spent Passover with be anti-Semitic if they are also Jewish?

Both Smith and Woodcock have had complaints sent to the Labour Party over their comments. The complaints, that nature of which is unclear, have now been passed on to Labour's chief whip.

As it turns out, anyone else sharing Woodcock's and Smith's views were also targeted online. The BBC's Andrew Neil tweeted how "baffled" he was about Corbyn's attendance at the Jewdas meeting. Some were quick to try and remedy his confusion.

Others wondered why the original story, which appeared on right-wing blog Guido Fawkes, omitted the fact that Jewdas is a Jewish group. Jewdas, a Jewish diaspora group based in London, describes itself as "radical" and are known for their opposition to the Israeli state. While others, Novara Media editor Aaron Bastani and Corbyn ally MP Chris Williamson, sought to highlight racism on Guido Fawkes comment section and links the page's founder allegedly has to the far-right. 

Corbyn himself has responded. Speaking to the BBC, he said on Tuesday: "It wasn't a meeting, it was a Seder event, which was a celebration of Passover and I celebrated it with a lot of young Jewish people from my own community.

"It was very interesting talking to a lot of young people about their experiences in modern Britain and I learnt a lot. Isn't that a good thing?"

READ MORE: Jewish groups brand Jeremy Corbyn anti-Semitic – but his supporters hit back

Corbyn went on to condemn anti-Semitism; pledging to follow the right processes to ensure its eradication from within the Labour Party.

"Anti-Semitism is a vile and evil thing within our society at any level, anywhere, anytime and it has got to be eradicated wherever it arises," Corbyn said. "If it arises within my party, then we have a process for dealing with it. We examine each case and if anyone has committed any anti-Semitic act then they're suspended and ultimately could be expelled because of it."

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