Margaret Hodge stands by calling Jeremy Corbyn ‘an anti-Semite’

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Margaret Hodge stands by calling Jeremy Corbyn ‘an anti-Semite’

Veteran Labour MP tells BBC Radio 4 that 'accountability and responsibility' rests with the Labour leader over his failure to back IHRA

Dame Margaret Hodge speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme
Dame Margaret Hodge speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme

The former Labour cabinet minister who called Jeremy Corbyn “an anti-Semite” has stood by her accusation after of a meeting of the party’s MPs.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 on Monday morning, Dame Margaret Hodge defended her expletive-laden confrontation with Corbyn in the House of Commons last week, for which she may yet face disciplinary action.

Hodge had taken issue with the party’s ruling body and its decision not to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, instead creating a code of conduct which it says covers most points raised by the IHRA.

Corbyn said he found the accusation “upsetting” but Hodge stood by her words, saying “accountability and responsibility” rests with the party leader.

“You can carry on proclaiming you’re not anti-Semitic…but it’s by his actions that he has to be judged,” she said. “By refusing to adopt the definition in full, he’s put himself in the position that he’s perceived by many to be anti-Semitic.”

Her BBC comments come hours before Jewish parliamentarians Ruth Smeeth and Louise Ellman table a motion at the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting on Monday evening, calling for the full adoption of the IHRA definition.

Senior members of Labour’s National Executive Committee say they have adopted the IHRA definition in full, but not all of its working examples. One example states that it is anti-Semitic to call Israel a racist state, which critics say impacts on free speech.

Lady Basildon, Labour’s Leader in the House of Lords, has also said she hopes that the party adopts the IHRA definition in full “because that’s the one that gives the Jewish community confidence”.

Hodge said that the party’s failure to adopt the IHRA definition’s working examples was “a bridge too far” after its failure to tackle cases on anti-Semitism in recent years, the most high-profile of which was a decision to suspend – not expel – former mayor Ken Livingstone for claiming Hitler initially supported Zionism.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: