Jeremy Corbyn had been blind to anti Semites in Labour for years which is why Jewish organisations are protesting publicly outside Parliament today. For comparison in cases of sexual harassment whose views do you listen to – The victims or the perpetrators?
Of course there is also Jeremy’s long standing special friend Ken Livingstone who in his dotage has become a renowned revisionist historian of the Jewish People. The lead story on BBC is Corbyn on his third attempt eventually acknowledging the problem his apologists have been saying does not exist. But there is still no acceptance of personal responsibility and of his own poor Leadership behaviours by and the reference to ‘pockets’ suggests a few rotten apples in the barrel.
Labour is an anti-racist party and I utterly condemn antisemitism, which is why as leader of the Labour Party I want to be clear that I will not tolerate any form of antisemitism that exists in and around our movement.https://t.co/HmkbdJ5sis
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) March 25, 2018
What Corbyn has to do is to demonstrate that he understands the relationship between the politics of Israel-hatred and the anti-Semitism with which he is complicit. No other “apology” is meaningful. No other statement of opposition to “racism and anti-Semitism” is meaningful. The board of deputies and the JLC are going to stage a protest against Corbyn and hand him a letter accusing him of siding with anti Semites time and time again
To those who say that there's no problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party, or that's it's being handled well, please ask why Britain's leading Jewish organisations are demonstrating to the Parliamentary Labour Party. We should be ashamed that it's come to this. https://t.co/6cs4H5PCxV
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) March 25, 2018
Jonathan Goldstein of the Jewish Leadership Council said: “We’ve had enough of hearing that Jeremy Corbyn opposes anti-Semitism while the mainstream majority of British Jews and their concerns are ignored by him and those he leads.” He added: “The greatest shame is that it is taken us to take to the streets for the apology to be forthcoming … Wherever we go we are told that we act on the instructions of Israel, that Rothschild’s run the world, that Isis is a fake front for Israel, that Zionists are the new Nazis. And I’m afraid it is the time for action rather than words.”
Goldstein called for Labour to take action against the former London mayor Ken Livingstone and former Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker, who he claimed continue to make anti-Semitic comments. He said: “This is the first time in my life time that the Jewish community has felt the need to take to the streets to campaign against the leader of a major political party. Rightly or wrongly Jeremy Corbyn is now the figurehead for an anti-Semitic political culture based upon obsessive hatred of Israel, conspiracy theories and fake news and that is doing great harm not just to the Labour party but to Britain in a wider sense.”
I asked the Leader’s Office for an explanation about this Facebook post first thing this morning. I’m still waiting for a response. pic.twitter.com/DL8ynBtES4
— Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) March 23, 2018
The last straw for many senior Jewish community figures was the revelation last Friday that he had questioned the removal in 2012 of a mural featuring classic anti Semitic imagery. He expressed regret for not liking more closely at the image before posting on social media, acknowledging it was right it was removed. He has so far failed to explicitly say sorry though. The Board of Deputies and the JLC says it was another example where he “never sees or understand anti-Semitism”. His words on the matter were “too little too late”, they charged.
Mr Corbyn said he made a “general comment about the removal of public art on grounds of freedom of speech” but acknowledged he should have looked more closely at the controversial image before posting on Facebook at the time of the row in 2012. He said: “I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic.”
The Jewish representative bodies say the Labour leader has “sided with anti-Semites” either because of “the far left’s obsessive hatred of Zionism” or “a conspiratorial worldview in which mainstream Jewish communities are believed to be a hostile entity, a class enemy”. The letter says those who push anti-Semitic material view Mr Corbyn as “their figurehead” and that he is “the only person with the standing to demand that all of this stops.” They directly blame Jeremy Corbyn and his brand of politics for allowing anti-Semitism to get a hold in the Labour Party. They accuse him of a far-left world view which they say is instinctively hostile to mainstream Jewish communities. What they mean by that is a view of Israel as a sort of neo-colonialist, Imperialist power, associated with the US, oppressing Palestinians, and it is that sort of politics that has allowed anti-Semitic views to gain a hold.
Ah the old hasbara trick of conflating a boycott of Israel with a boycott of Jews, perhaps the eagle doesn’t know half of world Jewry live outside Israel and 20% of Israel’s population in non Jewish.
— Robby Martin (@takethepss) March 26, 2018
In 2016 an inquiry into anti-Semitism in the Labour party , led by Shami Chakrabarti, said the party was not overrun by racism but there was “too much clear evidence… of ignorant attitudes”. It followed the suspension of MP Naz Shah and ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone amid anti-Semitism claims. The Chakrabarti report has been widely ridiculed inside and outside the Labour Party as being written to order and shortly afterwards Shami was made a Labour Peer by Corbyn.
The online responses to cogent criticism of both the Israeli Government and Jeremy Corbyn are strikingly similar in terms of tone and vituperation. That the UK Jewish community feels the need to speak out so strongly should shake every #Labour member. Now it’s up to all of us not to dismiss or minimise, but say #enoughisenough and act from grassroots to the top to ensure Labour lives up to our egalitarian principles.
And for the record The Skibbereen Eagle has consistently and strongly supported the Labour Party, freedom for Palestine and Palestinians and condemned the extremism of the Israeli Government.