The leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, apologized on Wednesday for causing “concern and anxiety” by hosting a 2010 event at which another speaker was reported by a newspaper to have compared Israeli policy to Nazi policies.
Corbyn is wrestling with accusations that his party has been tolerant of antisemitism among some of its members. Last month Jewish newspapers said Labour would represent an “existential threat to Jewish life in this country” if they won power.
The Times newspaper reported that Corbyn hosted a Holocaust Memorial Day meeting at which a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, Hajo Meyer, who died in 2014, repeatedly made comparisons between Israeli policy and Nazism. Before his death, Meyer criticized Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.
Reuters has not been able to verify what was said at the event. The Times carried a photograph of Corbyn at the event with Meyer, and his office did not dispute his involvement.
“Views were expressed at the meeting which I do not accept or condone,” Corbyn said in a statement.
“In the past, in pursuit of justice for the Palestinian people and peace in Israel/Palestine, I have on occasion appeared on platforms with people whose views I completely reject. I apologize for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused.”
The Campaign Against Antisemitism, a charity which seeks to combat and educate people about antisemitism, said it did not believe Corbyn’s apology.
Corbyn has previously apologized for what he called “pockets” of antisemitism in the party and promised to stamp them out. He has responded to protests by meeting with Jewish community leaders reassuring Jewish people they are welcome in the party.