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THREE allies of the late anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela have launched a petition in protest against Labour’s “witch-hunt” against and suspension of Jeremy Corbyn.
Former African National Congress (ANC) government ministers Ronnie Kasrils and Pallo Jordan and Mr Mandela’s former advisor Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim are behind the petition to reinstate the former Labour leader.
The three said that the current Labour leadership has “fallen prey to a dangerous agenda” that conflates “justified criticism” of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians with anti-semitism.
In the petition addressed to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, they wrote: “We, South Africans, are deeply disturbed at the Labour Party’s treatment and suspension of Jeremy Corbyn.
“We can attest to his outstanding support for the liberation of South Africa from apartheid, and his resolute stand against all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and injustice wherever that evil appeared.
“The manner in which he has been treated by elements within the Labour Party is an utter disgrace.”
They continued: “When there were instances of anti-semitism among a small number of ignorant members, Jeremy Corbyn has denounced it.
“We are aware of the machinations within the Labour Party to conduct a witch-hunt against Corbyn and those who support him. The charges of anti-semitism that have been levelled against him are patently unjust and morally groundless.”
Mr Corbyn was suspended after saying that the extent of anti-semitism in the party under his leadership was exaggerated for political reasons.
His remarks were in response to an Equality and Human Rights Commission report which found that Labour broke the law in its handling of anti-semitism complaints.
Mr Ebrahim served 35 years in prison on Robben Island for his underground anti-apartheid activism. On his release in 1991 after his second sentence, of 15 years, Mr Mandela described him as “one of the most outstanding pillars of the movement.”
Mr Kasrils, who is Jewish, joined the ANC in 1960 and was banned by the apartheid regime from speaking in public for five years.
He then worked for decades in the underground movement and served in ministerial roles including as intelligence minister.
Mr Jordan narrowly escaped assassination by a letter bomb ordered by South African police major Craig Williamson that killed anti-apartheid academic Ruth First in 1982. He then spent years in exile before taking up government positions after apartheid fell.
Former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein, who lost dozens of family members in the Holocaust, has also defended Mr Corbyn.
Their petition can be signed here: bit.ly/366tiF4
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