Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised Jewish leaders that the White House won’t wait for UK’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to become prime minister to “push back” against him and his actions that would make the life of Jews in Britain more difficult.
Pompeo made the comments during an off-the-record meeting in New York earlier this month where he also spoke about the Middle East peace plan that is set to be fully unveiled this summer.
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In a leaked recording of the meeting obtained by the Washington Post, Pompeo was asked if in the event of Corbyn becoming prime minister the Trump administration “would you be willing to work with us to take on actions if life becomes very difficult for Jews in the UK?”
Pompeo responded: “It could be that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gantlet and get elected. It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”
“It could be that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gantlet and get elected. It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”
The Labour Party has long been accused of hostility toward the Jewish people as prominent party figures, Corbyn included, have repeatedly echoed anti-Semitic tropes.
Last month, a senior party figure was suspended after claiming that the party’s issues have been manufactured by Israel. Britain’s human rights watchdog also said it launched an investigation into whether the Labour Party is guilty of illegal anti-Semitism.
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The Equality and Human Rights Commission said it is examining whether the party “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimized people because they are Jewish.”
But Pompeo’s comments prompted a backlash in Britain as some accused the U.S. of interfering in the country’s internal politics, now the second time this month. President Trump, who visited Britain last week, told The Sun that he wants Boris Johnson as the leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister.
A Labour spokesperson told the Post that the party is “fully committed to the support, defense and celebration of the Jewish community and is implacably opposed to anti-Semitism in any form.”
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“President Trump and his officials’ attempts to decide who will be Britain’s next prime minister are an entirely unacceptable interference in the UK’s democracy,” the spokesperson added.