Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
(photo credit: BLAKE EZRA PHOTOGRAPHY)
Several prominent Labour activists who have identified strongly with their party’s embattled leader have hit out at former UK chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks for his fierce criticism of Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday.
Sacks labeled Corbyn “an antisemite” who has backed “racists, terrorists and dealers of hate,” in an interview with the New Statesman, comments which made headlines throughout the UK press.
Following his comments, numerous pro-Corbyn figures began a smear attack on Sacks, seeking to discredit him and his views, due to his highly respected standing within the UK media and political establishment.
Vocal Corbyn supporter and columnist for The Guardian Owen Jones took to Twitter to attack Sacks for having written a blurb praising a book by Right-leaning author Douglas Murray called The Strange Death of Europe Immigration, Identity, Islam, which raises concerns about mass immigration and multicultural policies in Europe.
Jones pointed out that Murray “favorably cites” Enoch Powell, a Conservative politician active in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, who gave a notorious speech in 1968 known as the “Rivers of Blood” speech, where he criticized mass immigration into the UK, and which was castigated as racist and divisive.
Sacks himself, in his criticism of Corbyn, said that the Labour Party’s 2013 speech in which he said “Zionists” in Britain “do not understand English irony” was the worst political speech since Powell’s.
“What’s even more astonishing is that Douglas Murray’s book – which Rabbi Sacks lists as one of his best books of 2017 – favorably cites none other than – Enoch Powell,” wrote Jones on Twitter.
Aaron Bastani, founder and senior editor of the left-wing, pro-Corbyn Novara Media news outlet and a self-proclaimed communist, accused Sacks of being a “right-wing ultra-nationalist,” in a tweet saying that Labour should have hit back at the 68 prominent UK rabbis who recently published a letter in The Guardian strongly criticizing Labour for failing to consult with the Jewish community when it adopted a controversial definition of antisemitism in July.
“First thing leader of the opposition’s office should have done was examine record of 68 Rabbis signing letter. With most it is going to be a question of agreeing to disagree. Others like Sacks will be right-wing ultra-nationalists. Labour shouldn’t concede to such voices,” wrote Bastani.
Jewish Chronicle journalist Daniel Sugarman responded, “Yes, Aaron, you should ABSOLUTELY closely scrutinize each and every one of the Rabbis who had the nerve to sign the letter against antisemitism in the Labour Party! This in NO WAY WHATSOEVER makes you sound like an utterly odious far-right maniac! Well done!”
Michael Walker, another contributor for Novara Media, took up the theme of Sacks’s endorsement of Murray’s book, tweeting: “Douglas Murray’s book argued [that] the demographic consequences of muslim [sic] migration would destroy white, christian [sic] Europe. But it’s Corbyn that @rabbisacks compares to Powell?”
Walker also pointed out that Sacks had promoted a visit by World Mizrahi to Israel in May 2017, which included participation in the Jerusalem Day March of Flags. The march, starting at the Old City’s Damascus Gate and wending through the Muslim Quarter, has been strongly criticized for marchers’ inflammatory chants against Arabs and provocative behavior to the Arab residents of the Old City.
Sacks did not, however, take part in the march, but Walker nevertheless falsely accused him of having done so.
“Sacks led a far-right march through Palestinian communities where protesters shouted ‘Death to Arabs,’” he wrote. “The intention was to drive Palestinians out of East Jerusalem. To the @guardian, this merely shows Sacks has ‘robust views’. Now can you see how our media treats
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