The Chief Rabbi has launched into an explosive broadside against the Labour party, claiming it is not doing enough to tackle antisemitism in its ranks.
Ephraim Mirvis urged people to “vote with their conscience” at the General Election on 12 December, and said “a new poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root” in the party.
Writing in the Times, he said Labour’s assertion that it had investigated all cases of antisemitism was a “mendacious fiction”.
Jeremy Corbyn says Labour is rooting out antisemitism in its ranks by expelling members. Labour has also launched a so called race and faith manifesto, which looks to improve protections for all faiths and tackle prejudice.
Nevertheless, the party has been dogged by allegations of antisemitism for more than three years.
It has led to the suspension of several high-profile figures such as Ken Livingstone an and Chris Williamson, and an investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Prominent Jewish Labour politicians, such as Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman, have quit the party after suffering antisemitic abuse on social media.
In his article, the Orthodox Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – who is the spiritual leader of the United Synagogue, the largest umbrella group of Jewish communities in the country – says raising his concerns “ranks among the most painful moments I have experienced since taking office”.
But he claims “the overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety” at the prospect of a Labour victory next month.
He writes: “The way in which the leadership of the Labour Party has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud – of dignity and respect for all people.
“It has left many decent Labour members and parliamentarians, both Jewish and non-Jewish, ashamed of what has transpired.”
He adds that it was “not my place to tell any person how they should vote” but urged people to “vote with their conscience”.