Jeremy Corbyn has compared Israel to terror group Islamic State even as a new report has denied the party is "overrun" by anti-Semitism

 
Mark Sands
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An inquiry has raised fears of anti-Semitism being ignored within Labour (Source: Getty)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has sparked fresh controversy by appearing to compare the state of Israel to terror group Islamic State.

Speaking at the launch of a report on Labour and anti-Semitism by former Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti, which cited "clear evidence" of hateful or ignorant attitudes and behaviours within a minority in the party, Corbyn said Labour should be judged "by the highest of standards" on equality.

However, he went on to add: "Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organisations.”

The launch of the report was further marred by controversy, when an activist from left-wing campaign group Momentum accused Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth of colluding with the "right wing" Daily Telegraph to smear the party.

Read More: Livingstone blames Blairites for anti-Semitism furore

It came as Chakrabarti's report warned that anti-Semitism "has not been taken seriously enough in the Labour Party and broader Left for some years”, warning that an “occasionally toxic atmosphere” within the party was shutting down debate.

However, Chakrabarti said: "The Labour Party is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism.”

The report saw her issue a list of 20 recommendations as part of her investigation into racism in the party, including calling on members to avoid the use of Nazi, Hitler and Holocaust metaphors, and warning that attempts to blur responsibility or minimise the Holocaust should have no place in the Labour party.

However, Chakrabarti warned against installing lifetime bans for offenders.

Chakrabarti was recruited by Labour to conduct the probe following the suspension of MP Naz Shah and former London mayor Ken Livingstone amid claims of anti-Semitism.

Shah was suspended after Facebook posts showed her sharing messages suggesting the relocation of Israel to the United States, while Livingstone suggested that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism “before he went mad”.

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