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Canadian News Mar 3, 2021 9:17 PM EST

Jewish groups raise anti-Semitism concerns after disgraced British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn invited to speak alongside NDP MP

Corbyn had recently been ejected from the party he formerly led after he rejected a report from the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission holding him partially responsible for a culture of antisemitism within the party.

Jewish groups raise anti-Semitism concerns after disgraced British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn invited to speak alongside NDP MP
Noah David Alter Toronto

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

Jewish groups have expressed concern after disgraced former British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was invited to speak alongside NDP MP Niki Ashton.

The digital event, which is expected to take place on Mar 20, is hosted by Progressive International, a global left-wing organization founded by progressive politicians and activists such as US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Canadian author Naomi Klein.

"Jeremy Corbyn knows what it’s like to offer a principled vision that makes a difference in people’s lives," Ashton said of Corbyn. "He knows what it’s like to take on regressive voices that want to stand in the way of real change."

Corbyn led the Labour Party through two British elections, once in 2017 and again in 2019. In the latter of the two elections, Corbyn led his party to its worst defeat since 1935, with the Conservatives led by now-Prime Minister Boris Johnson winning a landslide victory.

"We were astonished to learn that members of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Canada have invited disgraced former leader of the UK Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, to talk to progressives about 'building solidarity,'" the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said in a statement. "The absurdity of this is hard to fathom."

The organization noted that Corbyn had recently been ejected from the party he formerly led after he rejected a report from the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission holding him partially responsible for a culture of antisemitism within the party.

"Jeremy Corbyn is toxic. The invitation to the disgraced leader is more evidence that Svend Robinson, Niki Ashton, Libby Davies and a few others want to take the NDP in a direction that is antithetical to basic Canadian values," said CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel. "It is staggering that given the litany of catastrophic, consequential issues before us, including the pandemic, that this is where some in the NDP want to spend the party's capital."

Ashton herself is no stranger to controversy. In late 2020 she was set to appear on a panel calling for the Canadian government to release Huawei CEO Meng Wenzhou from custody before bailing shortly before the event. She has also sponsored a petition calling for Meng's release and has advocated for Huawei to be allowed to participate in Canada's 5G network.

More recently, Ashton was stripped of her critic role in Parliament after she admitted to travelling to Greece to visit her ailing grandmother in spite of coronavirus travel guidance.

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