UNITE leader Len McCluskey has rubbished claims that Labour is rife with antisemitism, saying that the latest row is an attempt to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr McCluskey argued that allegations of anti-Jewish sentiment was “mood music” intended to make voters think that the party has “become misogynistic and anti-semitic” under the Labour leader.
Asked if he accepted that Labour had an anti-semitism problem, Mr McCluskey told BBC2’s Newsnight on Tuesday night: “In 47 years of membership, I’ve never been at a meeting where there was any anti-semitic language or any attacks on the Jews.
“They would have had short shrift in any meeting I was at,” he said.
Mr Corbyn condemned anti-semitic language as being “completely at odds with the beliefs of this party.”
Mr McCluskey’s comments came after Labour members voted to back new rules to tackle alleged anti-semitism in the party on Tuesday.
Delegates had voted in favour of members to be expelled for voicing antisemitic views.
The latest row was sparked earlier this week over a fringe meeting at the conference in which Israeli-American author Miko Peled — whose father was Israeli general and later peace activist Matti Peled — allegedly suggested to attendees that the principle of free speech should protect Holocaust denial.
He said Labour members should support the freedom to “discuss every issue, whether it’s Holocaust, yes or no, whether it’s Palestine liberation, the entire spectrum.”
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said the party will investigate the comments and how Mr Peled was given a platform to speak at the fringe.