More than half of people believe Labour has a “serious antisemitism problem”, a new poll has revealed.
The ComRes survey, on behalf of the Jewish News newspaper, showed 51% think the party has a problem with anti-Jewish hate, up from 34% in July last year.
A similar proportion of respondents, 55%, agreed that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s “failure to tackle antisemitism within his own party shows he is unfit to be prime minister”.
Labour’s long-running antisemitism row resurfaced at the weekend when the Sunday Times reported Mr Corbyn, in a leaked recording, said that evidence of antisemitism in the party has been “mislaid or ignored”.
ComRes spoke to 1,047 adults on Monday for the poll, with only 22% saying they believed Mr Corbyn’s claim that he had an “absolute determination” to stamp out antisemitism from his party. Almost half (48%) disagreed.
Asked if Mr Corbyn “appears to be handling the Labour Party’s antisemitism problem well”, 12% agreed.
However, more than half (52%) of the people surveyed who voted Labour in 2017 believe that Mr Corbyn “is the target of a concerted smear campaign by his political opponents to try to discredit him over antisemitism”.
A Labour source suggested the poll included “a set of leading questions that anyone would expect to produce a negative result”.
But, responding to the ComRes survey, Labour MP Wes Streeting posted on Twitter: “Unsurprising. Accurate. Self-inflicted. Had a meeting today with a very senior figure in Silicon Valley who raised this as an issue of concern.”
Mike Katz, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, told Jewish News: “We’ve always argued that tackling its institutional crisis of antisemitism is a moral imperative for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party – but this polling shows that it should be a political priority for them too.
“The fact that more than half of those polled… thought that his handling of anti-Jewish racism made the leader of the Labour Party – the party which prizes it’s anti-fascist credentials – unfit to lead the country should make him and those around him pause for thought.”
Chris Hopkins, from ComRes, said: “The Labour Party’s reported issues with antisemitism appear to be worsening in the eyes of the public, and could have serious implications for Jeremy Corbyn as he bids to be prime minister at the next election, whenever that may be.
A party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party is fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and its organisations.
“We are taking action against antisemitism, standing in solidarity with Jewish communities, and rebuilding trust.
“Labour has always rejected claims that concerns about antisemitism are smears and ComRes’ suggestion to the contrary is untrue.”
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