Labour has denied Jeremy Corbyn compared the actions of Israelis to those of the Nazis.
Amid a deepening anti-Semitism row, footage has emerged of the Labour leader mentioning the 1940s sieges of Leningrad and Stalingrad in a speech outside the Israeli embassy in London.
It comes as both Mr Corbyn and Labour face criticism over the party’s controversial decision not to adopt an internationally recognised definition and working examples of anti-Semitism in full.
In a new party code of conduct, Labour has omitted four of the examples in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) list. This includes comparing contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis.
Labour says that while the examples are not reproduced word for word, they are covered. But, critics have questioned why they have not been adopted in full.
In a speech at a 2010 rally outside the Israeli embassy, Mr Corbyn told a crowd a “war crime” was being conducted in Gaza.
He said: “I was in Gaza three months ago. I saw the mortar shells that had gone through the school buildings, the destroyed UN establishments, the burnt-out schools, the ruined homes, the destroyed lives, the imprisoned people, the psychological damage to a whole generation who’ve been imprisoned for as long as the siege of Leningrad and Stalingrad took place.
“This is a war crime that is being undertaken, but this time on live television.”
A Labour spokesman insisted Mr Corbyn “was not comparing the actions of Nazis and Israelis but the conditions of civilian populations in besieged cities in wartime”.
The Labour Against Anti-Semitism campaign group questioned whether Mr Corbyn would face action over the comments if his party adopted the IHRA examples in full.
Spokesperson Euan Philipps said: “The IHRA definition states that drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is anti-Semitic.
“It looks increasingly clear that if the IHRA definition were re-adopted by the Labour Party then Jeremy Corbyn might himself be suspended – and even face expulsion.
“Is that why it is being so strongly resisted?”
Mr Corbyn made his speech a few months after chairing a House of Commons event where Israel was compared to the Nazis, for which the Labour leader this week offered an apology.
It has further emerged Mr Corbyn, in 2011, supported a bid fronted by Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell to rename Holocaust Memorial Day as “Genocide Memorial Day – Never Again For Anyone”.
Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, claimed the revelations showed Mr Corbyn had been guilty of a “clear breach” of the IHRA definition.
She said: “Jeremy Corbyn needs to stop hiding and make an abject apology to UK Jews in his own voice. He must adopt the IHRA anti-Semitism definition and all examples.”
The ongoing anti-Semitism controversy has seen Corbyn-backing group Momentum withdraw its support for a candidate seeking re-election to the party’s ruling National Executive Committee.
Peter Willsman was recorded claiming at an NEC meeting last month that Jewish “Trump fanatics” are behind recent claims of anti-Semitism against Labour.