Jeremy Corbyn was at the centre of another anti-Semitism row last night, amid claims that Labour would never tolerate racism against black people in the same way.
Branding his party’s response to anti-Jewish attacks as ‘unacceptable’, leading black Labour MP Chuka Umunna, whose father was Nigerian, suggested Labour would be stricter dealing with discrimination ‘with regard to black people’.
The row erupted as Mr Corbyn struggled to contain Labour MPs’ anger over his decision to defend the artist responsible for an anti-Semitic mural, depicting a group of ‘hook-nosed’ men huddled around a Monopoly-style board.
Chuka Umunna has criticised Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for his response to an anti-Semitic mural
Mr Corbyn appeared to defend the artist responsible for the mural, which depicted a group of ‘hook-nosed’ men huddled around a Monopoly-style board
The Labour leader expressed his ‘severe regret’ for having questioned why the controversial picture on a wall in East London had to be painted over, and said he was ‘opposed to the production of anti-Semitic material of any kind’.
But former Shadow Cabinet member Mr Umunna contrasted Labour’s ‘shameful’ response to issues of anti-Semitism over the last two years with how he expected the party to crack down on racism against black people. The Streatham MP said: ‘If we were dealing with… hatred and discrimination emanating in and around the Labour Party with regard to black people, I would not stand for that kind of thing. And I’d be very surprised actually if the Labour Party dealt with that kind of incidence of racism in that way.’
Insisting he was not using the issue to ‘have a go’ at the party leadership, Mr Umunna said Labour had a ‘real problem’ with anti-Semitism that was not in keeping with the party’s values.
Mr Corbyn has come under intense pressure over the mural with Mr Umunna suggesting he wouldn’t have tolerated racism against black people
He added: ‘We really, really must get our house in order.’
Last night, he was backed by fellow Labour MP Gavin Shuker.
Mr Shuker told The Mail on Sunday: ‘In Corbyn’s Labour Party, it seems that Jewish people are the only group that cannot define what constitutes racism against them.’
In a 2012 Facebook post, the Labour leader responded to news that a mural by graffiti artist Kalen Ockerman was to be painted over.
Mr Corbyn asked why, before condemning previous destruction of controversial political art. Last week he apologised for not having looked more closely at the mural, which he agreed was ‘deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic’. He added that he ‘wholeheartedly’ supported its removal. Mr Ockerman has denied being anti-Semitic, insisting his mural was about ‘class and privilege’.