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Britain's Chief Rabbi Accuses Jeremy Corbyn of Allowing Anti-Semitism to Fester Like 'Poison' in Labour Party

Britain Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Photo, AP

JERUSALEM, Israel - Britain's Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis blasted Jeremy Corbyn on Monday for not doing enough to tackle anti-Semitism as leader of the Labour Party and warned in The Times that "the overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety" over the possibility that Corbyn could be their next prime minister. 

Mirvis said anti-Jewish bigotry has become a "poison - sanctioned from the very top" of the Labour Party and Jews are carefully watching to see who wins Britain's general elections on December 12.

Corbyn dismissed fears of on-going anti-Semitism in his party during an event on Tuesday.

"There is no place whatsoever for anti-Semitism in any shape or form or in any place whatsoever in modern Britain and under a Labour government it will not be tolerated in any form whatsoever," he said.

But those are claims Corbyn has made before and Mirvis said British Jews are not convinced.

The rabbi said Labour's claim that it has confronted anti-Semitism is a "mendacious fiction."

"It is a failure of leadership," Mirvis wrote.

The Labour Party has been riddled with accusations of anti-Semitism for years, causing some high-profile Labour politicians to resign.

Louise Ellman resigned last month and wrote that anti-Semitism has "become mainstream in the Labour Party."

"Jewish members have been bullied, abused and driven out. Anti-Semites have felt comfortable and vile conspiracy theories have been propagated…The Labour Party is no longer a safe place for Jews," she wrote in her resignation letter.

The party, which has a significant chance in winning Britain's' upcoming general election, was subjected to an unprecedented investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Several high profile figures in the party, including Ken Livingstone and Chris Williamson, were suspended for anti-Semitism and Corbyn, a Hamas sympathizer, has had to apologize for publicly endorsing anti-Semitic art.

Mirvis' warnings come after a new poll revealed nearly 50 percent of British Jews would "seriously consider" leaving the country if Corbyn becomes prime minister.

Labour's women and equalities spokeswoman Naz Shah told the BBC on Tuesday that Labour needs to do more to assuage the Jewish community's fears.

"It is not acceptable that the Jewish community does not feel that the Labour Party is its natural home," Shah told the BBC on Tuesday. "We haven't been as good as we could be, we need to get better even today. We could do things differently, we do need to do much better at it and that means listening and that means responding accordingly to the Jewish community."

Mirvis cautioned British Jews to think critically about what December's elections could mean for them and said: "the soul of our nation is at stake."

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