Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for attending an event organised by a left-wing Jewish group that is critical of mainstream Jewish communal bodies.
The Passover event was organised by Jewdas, which the Labour leader attended in Islington in a personal capacity – according to a spokesperson for Corbyn.
“Many of last night’s attendees are absolutely part of the ‘mainstream community,’” wrote Charlotte Nicols for the pro-Labour website Labour List. “It is untrue to say that there is any one narrative, political or otherwise, within Jewdas. It is a collective space where we can have uncomfortable conversations – what unites us all is the fact that we are Jewish,” she said, after attending the event in London.
“It is not for non-Jewish people, in criticising Corbyn’s attendance, to determine what is and isn’t a legitimate expression of the Jewish faith. For those in the community who want to paint Jeremy’s attendance as an act of provocation, rather than an attempt to listen, engage, and share our festival with us, it’s actually just alienating many young Jewish people further and validating Jewdas’ very existence.”
Jewdas has described itself as a “radical voices for the alternative diaspora” and has published pamphlets for pro-Palestinian demonstrations as well as voicing concerns of the Israeli government.
The Jewish Labour Movement, who has already criticized Corbyn’s relations with the Jewish community, said the Labour leader’s presence at the event “topped off the worst week on record of awful relations between the Labour Party and the Jewish community”.
Corbyn had to apologise to the Jewish community in March after Jewish leaders wrote an open letter to the Labour leader accusing him of “siding with antisemites”.
Following the letter, Corbyn said he was “sincerely sorry” for the pain caused and he plans to meet with Jewish representatives in order to “rebuild” confidence.