Corbyn sacks colleague over referendum request
Corbyn has been forced to apologise after initially defending his apparent backing for the artwork depicting Jewish bankers playing Monopoly on the backs of the poor.
Labour MP Wes Streeting said: “If only anti-Semites were dealt with as swiftly as remainers.”
Labour members have criticised Corbyn’s decision to sack Owen Smith, his shadow Northern Ireland secretary and former leadership rival, for calling for a third EU referendum, with the first held in 1975. Smith said voters needed a say on whatever final agreement May manages to make with Brussels.
Smith said he would not be silenced on his “long-held views” on Brexit.
Former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain called the sacking a “Stalinist purge”.
Corbyn loyalist and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said Smith could not remain on Labour’s front bench while advocating a position which was not party policy.
Smith tweeted that his concerns about Brexit were shared by other members of the Labour Party.
Artist Kalen Ockerman, known as Mear One, posted a picture online of his mural on a wall in east London to protest about its imminent removal in 2012. Corbyn, then a backbench MP, questioned the destruction of the painting following complaints that it was anti-Semitic.
He wrote at the time: “Why? You are in good company. Rockerfeller destroyed Diego Viera’s mural because it includes a picture of Lenin.” He was referring to a piece by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera that was removed from the Rockefeller Centre in New York in 1934.
The artist denied being anti-Semitic, saying the picture was about “class and privilege”, showing a group of bankers “made up of Jewish and white Anglos”.
Corbyn explained that he made a “general comment about the removal of public art on grounds of freedom of speech” but admitted that he should have looked more closely at the image before making his Facebook post.
The left-wing icon said: “I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic.”
It is the latest accusation of anti-Semitism to hit Labour and the party’s MP Chuka Umunna said “there clearly is an issue” inside the party.
“It isn’t that a majority of our members are anti-Semitic but there’s definitely amongst the minority a real problem here which is not in keeping with the values of the Labour Party,” Umunna told the BBC.
The New World Order is the enemy of humanity by Mear One. Picture credit: Flickr