Jeremy Corbyn tells Jews he is their ally in the fight against anti-Semitism

Jeremy Corbyn has said he hopes Passover will mark a move towards closer relations with the Jewish community as he admitted Labour needs to "do better" in the fight against anti-Semitism.

As the party continues to be engulfed by rows over how it has dealt with hostility to Jews, the Labour leader insisted he was an "ally" in the fight against abuse.

Mr Corbyn conceded that while it was easy to denounce anti-Semitism in other countries, it is "sometimes harder to see it when it is closer to home".

It comes as Jewish Labour peer Lord Winston said the party leader had "encouraged and endorsed" anti-Semites.

Anti-semitism in Labour
Anti-semitism in Labour

A group of Labour politicians has also urged Mr Corbyn to kick former disputes panel chairwoman Christine Shawcroft off the party's ruling body over her opposition to the suspension of a council candidate accused of anti-Semitism.

Mr Corbyn wrote to Jewish leaders earlier in the week apologising for "hurt and pain" caused by instances of anti-Semitism in Labour after the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council organised a protest over the issue.

In a Passover message, he said Labour will "never be complacent" about the problem.

Mr Corbyn said: "Passover is a time to celebrate a journey from oppression to freedom.

"We remember all our Jewish brothers and sisters, who have battled against discrimination and faced the most horrific acts of violence and mass murder.

"This year marks 75 years since a group of Jewish partisans in Warsaw, on the first night of Passover, discovered that the Nazis intended to destroy their ghetto.

"They decided to stay and fight, holding out against the Nazi war machine for a month.

"We think also about rising levels of anti-Semitism around the world.

"In Poland, the government has passed laws making it illegal to acknowledge Polish complicity in the Holocaust. They have frozen the law that returns property looted by Nazis to Holocaust survivors.

"In France, the neo-fascist National Front is on the rise and just days ago 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mirielle Knoll was brutally stabbed to death in an anti-Semitic attack. In the US too, we see the far-right extremists gathering support for their hateful ideology.

"It is easy to denounce anti-Semitism when you see it in other countries, in other political movements. It is sometimes harder to see it when it is closer to home.

"We in the labour movement will never be complacent about anti-Semitism.

"We all need to do better.

"I am committed to ensuring the Labour Party is a welcoming and secure place for Jewish people.

"And I hope this Passover will mark a move to stronger and closer relations between us and everyone in the Jewish community.

"In the fight against anti-Semitism, I am your ally and I always will be."

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