U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that the U.S. would “push back” and do its “level best” to make sure Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn does not get elected British prime minister.
A recording of the meeting, in which Pompeo was asked if he would be willing to work to make sure life would not become “very difficult for Jews in the UK,” was leaked to the Washington Post.
The Labour Party described Pompeo’s remarks as “entirely unacceptable interference in the UK’s democracy.”
Jewish Group Calls For Suspension Of New MP
The Jewish Labour Movement called for the suspension of new Labour MP Lisa Forbes hours after she was elected in last week’s Peterborough by-election.
Last year, Forbes signed a letter opposing the party’s adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, and last week she liked a Facebook post stating that Prime Minister Theresa May had a “Zionist slave masters agenda.”
She also approved a post claiming that the Mossad and CIA were responsible for ISIS and signed a letter stating that Israel was a “racist endeavour” and supporting a boycott of the country.
Following her election victory, Forbes told the BBC that she now accepts the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. She also apologized for liking the Facebook post.
She told Sky TV, “I actually liked a video of children praying about the atrocities that had happened in New Zealand and I hadn’t paid attention to the text above it, and I apologize for that…. Anti-Semitism is just something I condemn completely.”
Despite her apology, the Jewish Labour Movement has called for Forbes’ suspension from the Labour Party. The JLM called Forbes a “perfect example” of a Labour activist who has advanced within the party despite promoting “racist material.”
Dame Louise Ellman said, “These serious allegations must not be brushed under the carpet. Lisa Forbes should be suspended while the Labour Party conducts an investigation.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, however, denied that Forbes was “racist in any way,” and Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner said that Forbes should be forgiven.
Angry scenes erupted at this week’s Parliamentary Labour Party meeting when Jewish MPs Ruth Smeeth and Dame Margaret Hodge raised questions about Forbes as well as the party’s handling of anti-Semitism allegations.
Conservative Leader Warns of Corbyn Ascension
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, a Conservative Party leadership candidate, said at his hustings last week that if the Tory Party did not get it right, “we could end up with the first anti-Semitic leader of a Western nation since the Second World War.”
The Labour Party responded with: “This baseless attack rings hollow from a minister in a party that has supported governments that actively support anti-Semitic policies in Poland and Hungary.”
Luciana Berger Quits Change UK
Jewish MP Luciana Berger, who quit Labour over anti-Semitic elements in the party to launch The Independent Group earlier this year – which later became Change UK – has now quit her new party.
Berger was one of six former Labour MPs to quit the party after its recent disastrous showing in the European elections. In a joint statement, the six said that they had “made the decision to leave Change UK, leaving to support each other as an independent grouping of MPs.”
Some speculate that they may join the Liberal Democrats who did unexpectedly well in the Euro elections.
Charedi Schools Receive Ofsted Warnings
Six charedi schools have received Ofsted warning notices this year, citing “serious regulatory failings.”
Gateshead Jewish Nursery School, London’s Yesodey Hatorah School, Wiznitz Cheder School and Beis Trana School, as well as Manchester’s Beis Ruchel Girls School and Tashbar all received warnings, many of them revolving around LGBT issues.
Gateshead Nursery School was criticized for segregating the sexes. The report states: “Often, adults in the school enforce gender stereotypes.”
A school document at Wiznitz Cheder advocates corporal punishment, but staff say it is never followed.
Charedi education activist Shraga Stern told the Jewish Press that the warnings were an “invasion upon religious liberties.”
Chazzan’s Son Knighted
The son of a chazzan has been knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Sir Ian Stoutzker, son of Aron Stoutzker, who was chazzan of London’s Central Synagogue, was knighted for services to music and philanthropy. Sir Ian is president of the charity Live Music Now, which holds music workshops in care homes and special schools.
Darryl Lee, who has helped to run Manchester Maccabi for 25 years, received an MBE for services to charity and Manchester Jewry. Holocaust survivors Walter Kammerling, Ernest Simon, Gabrielle Keenaghan, Ruzena Levy, Hans Vulkan and Ann and Bob Kirk received BEMs.