LONDON — Jeremy Corbyn was asked four times to apologize for his handling of anti-Semitism in Labour Party ranks, but declined to do so.
In a grueling BBC interview on Tuesday, Corbyn was repeatedly asked to say sorry to the Jewish community in Britain. “I am determined that our society will be safe for people of all faiths,” he told Andrew Neil. “I don’t want anyone to be feeling insecure in our society and our government will protect every community against the abuse they receive on the streets, on the trains or in any other form of life.”
He added: “Racism in our society is a total poison.”
The exchange happened hours after Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi in the U.K., suggested Jewish voters should not back Corbyn at the general election on December 12 due to his slow handling of anti-Semitism in Labour ranks and his past association with anti-Semites. He said the Labour boss was “unfit for office” and voters should examine their conscience before supporting him.
Corbyn said he was “looking forward to having a discussion with [Mirvis] because I want to hear why he would say such a thing.” The Muslim Council of Great Britain condemned the Conservatives on Tuesday over its record on Islamophobia.
UK NATIONAL PARLIAMENT ELECTION POLL OF POLLS
Elsewhere in the BBC interview, Corbyn refused to say who would lead the campaign in support of a new Brexit deal that he said he would negotiate before putting it back to the people in a referendum.
He also said the highest earners, the richest 0.1 percent in Britain, should not leave the country if they face higher bills under his plans to raise income tax on anyone earning over £80,000. “There is no reason why they would have to leave the country,” he said in response to the suggestion a large chunk of his tax base could be wiped out.
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