Anti-Semitism Row: John McDonnell ‘Worried’ At Prospect Of Labour Split

John Mann speaking at #EnoughIsEnough- Demonstration against anti Semitism

John Mann speaking at #EnoughIsEnough- Demonstration against anti Semitism

Jeremy Corbyn (second from left) holding a wreath during a visit to the Martyrs of Palestine, in Tunisia, in October 2014.

The former PM said the Labour Party must not be "hesitant" in tackling Antisemitism.

And he said Mr Corbyn must finally get a grip on the issue "in the next few days".

The party has been beset by arguments over the issue throughout the summer, prompting two MPs - John Woodcock and Frank Field - to resign the whip and others to threaten to do the same.

He made the speech in advance of a meeting by Labour's National Executive Committee over whether to adapt the IHRA definition, and hours after rabbi Lord Sacks launched a renewed attack on Jeremy Corbyn over anti-Semitism.

Those attending what the MP describes as "the hate fest" include, he says, "those who say that I am "loyal to a foreign power" and "paid by the Jews".

"Anyone who uses the term "Zionist" loosely without great care is in danger of engulfing Britain in the kind of flames of hatred that have reappeared throughout Europe and is massively irresponsible".

He added that he supported the creation and existence of the state of Israel and a Palestinian state in the Middle East. I think you've got, really have misinterpreted Jeremy.

'I believe the Labour Party must and should change the policy'. "His whole life has been devoted to anti-racism, to peace and justice".

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Jewish Labour MPs are meeting in London to demand the party fully adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance guidelines on anti-Semitism.

One of the Jewish community's most steadfast friends in Parliament, Labour MP John Mann, has had to forego attending the Jewish Labour Movement conference in London on Sunday because of potential anti-Israel and anti-Jewish action from members of his own constituency party in Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire.

"So I'm anxious and I'm saddened by that, and I think that open door is always there to prevent that happening, because any split is automatically damaging".

Warning about the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in recent years, he said the problem was not "abstract and theoretical but real and present and had to be dealt with now".

The issue has split the party, with some Corbyn supporters accusing opponents and right-wing media outlets of misrepresenting the leader's views.

"It is not simply about a procedure".

He told the New Statesman he wanted to avoid a split "at all costs" and and that the party leadership had an "open door" for colleagues who are considering leaving.

Brown said he was not appearing as "some sort of backseat driver", but he had to speak out about antisemitism because equality and solidarity was "what the Labour party is all about, or should be all about".

While Labour MPs who resigned the whip should normally trigger a by-election, Mr McDonnell said in this case he did not want to "go anywhere near that" given Mr Field's long service to the party.

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