American Jewish Committee (AJC) welcomed newly elected Labour Party head Keir Starmer’s public apology to the British Jewish community for the failure to address rising antisemitism within the party’s ranks and in the United Kingdom.

“Anti-Semitism has been a stain on our party. I have seen the grief that it's brought to so many Jewish communities,” said Starmer soon after his election yesterday. “On behalf of the Labour Party, I am sorry. I will tear out this poison by its roots and judge success by the return of Jewish members and those who felt that they could no longer support us.”

Starmer won 56.2 percent of the vote to succeed Jeremy Corbyn, who has led Labour since 2015.

Congratulating Starmer, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, said: “We were very pleased that he and all the other leadership contenders signed up to the Board of Deputies’ Ten Pledges on antisemitism. Now they must act to rid the party of the awful disease of anti-Jewish racism.”

“Keir Starmer’s election and commitment to assertively take on antisemitism are rays of light in what has been for Jews a particularly dark period in British history,” said David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the leading global Jewish advocacy organization. “We agree with our partner organization, the British Board of Deputies, that concrete action to assertively eliminate hatred of Jews inside the Labour Party must now follow Sir Starmer’s pledge.”

In January, the Community Security Trust reported an increase in antisemitism in the UK for the fourth consecutive year. There were 1,805 incidents in 2019, the highest number ever logged in a calendar year and a 7% increase on 2018.

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