A Jewish vote for Corbyn is like a Muslim voting for Trump, says former BBC head

“You have to feel absolutely confident that it is totally unacceptable and it won’t be tolerated and I personally haven’t felt comfortable that it is happening yet in the Labour party.”

April 17, 2016 17:06
2 minute read.
 Jeremy Corbyn

Britain's leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The former director of BBC TV told The Times of London Saturday that he believed a Jewish vote for [UK Labour leader Jeremy] Corbyn is "like being a Muslim and voting for [US Republican presidential candidate] Donald Trump," The Jewish Chronicle reported Sunday.

Danny Cohen, who ran the BBC's television department from 2013 to 2015, told The Times over the weekend he could not imagine a scenario where Jewish voters could support the Labour leader after repeatedly failing to address anti-Jewish hatred within his party, adding he was "deeply troubled" with the "frequent problems" Labour has with anti-Semitism.

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“You have to feel absolutely confident that (anti-Semitism) is totally unacceptable and it won’t be tolerated and I personally haven’t felt comfortable that it is happening yet in the Labour party,” Cohen said.

Corbyn, who has himself wrestled with allegations of anti-Semitism, has repeatedly rejected the notion that racism is a pervasive problem within the Labour party.

"I’ve absolutely condemned anti-Semitism, I’ve condemned Islamophobia, I’ve condemned any form of racism anywhere in our society," Corbyn told Sky News in a March interview.

Cohen continued by stating:  “I am deeply troubled about what is going on in the Labour Party. I am deeply troubled that our main opposition party is having such frequent problems with anti-Semitism. It really disturbs and troubles me.”

Cohen's comparison to Trump refers to the Republican presidential frontrunner's perceived anti-Muslim comments he's made during his run for the White House, including one statement where he claimed "Islam hates" the West.  Trump has also promised to implement a travel ban on all Muslims coming to the United States if elected president.


As for the Labour party, the political faction has faced months of accusations of anti-Semitism after a string of party officials and members have been outed for making disparaging remarks about Jews in public statements.

Earlier this month, former Lord Mayor of Bradford Khadim Hussain quit the Labour party after it was revealed he had uploaded several offensive posts to Facebook, including a suggestion that Israel was surreptitiously arming international terror organization Islamic State.

In march, Labour candidate for parliament Vicky Kirby was suspended (for the second time) after she posted tweets stating that Jews have “big noses” and “slaughter the oppressed.”

The episode came shortly after Oxford Labour Union Club co-chairmen Alex Chambers quit his position with the the organization after he claimed the OLUC  had “some kind of problem with Jews.”

In a post on Facebook, Chambers explained that his decision was made in light of the Oxford University Labor Club’s decision to endorse Israel Apartheid Week on campus, stating that “the attitudes of certain members of the club towards certain disadvantaged groups was becoming poisonous."

In addition, Labour found embarrassment earlier this year after having readmitted party member Gerry Downing after he was suspended the previous year for making public statements referring to "The Jewish Question."

The "Jewish Question" refers to a centuries old debate in Europe pertaining to the appropriate status and treatment of Jews in society.

And just last week, Labour suspended Luton city Councillor Aysegul Gurbuz over anti-Semitic tweets written before she was elected, including one praising Adolf Hitler as the “greatest man in history.”

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