Jeremy Corbyn: Jewish voters have nothing to fear from a Labour government

The latest polls in the UK suggest that for the time being, the Conservatives have a lead of between 8-17 percentage points.

By
November 4, 2019 09:23
Jeremy Corbyn: Jewish voters have nothing to fear from a Labour government

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during general election campaign event in Swindon, Britain November 2, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS)

With a December general election forthcoming in Britain's immediate future, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has now shifted focus over to forwarding his party's agenda regarding Brexit, social justice and climate change - while attempting reposition the shadow of antisemitism claims looming over the party's head.

The general elections, which were sparked due to a seething row between Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson and Corbyn over accepting a proper Brexit deal, have now put the Labour leader in position to become Britain's next prime minister if the elections sway in the opposition party's favor.

Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly claims that there are Jewish families who intend to emigrate from the United Kingdom if  Corbyn wins the December 12 election.

However, in a Guardian interview Corbyn categorically denied that Jewish voters would have anything to fear from a Labour majority government and insists that the claims of antisemitism plaguing the party are unjustified.

“Antisemitism and racism is an evil within our society. I’ve done everything to confront it throughout my life, and will always do so. We want this country to be safe for all people," Corbyn said. "An attack on a synagogue, an attack on a mosque, an attack on a church – an attack on a person walking down the street because they’re perceived to be different from the rest of us – we simply can’t tolerate it.”

Many Jewish voters have abandoned the Labour Party already amidst the allegations and the Jewish Labour Movement themselves have reported they have no plans on focusing their efforts on getting Corbyn elected during this upcoming election.

Speaking with British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph, Cleverly, who has only held the post for a matter of months, said that "a number of my Jewish friends told me that if this man [Corbyn] gets in to government, they will get out of here and go and live with their families in other countries."

Cleverly added that no group in the UK should live in such an atmosphere of fear.

The parliamentarian also warned on Friday that voting for the rival Brexit Party could prevent Britain from leaving the EU and could put Corbyn into power. The Euro-skeptic, led by former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, could take votes away from Boris Johnson's Conservative Party, allowing Corbyn to make gains.

"A vote for Farage risks letting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street via the back door," Cleverly said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump also chimed in on the upcoming election last week.

"Corbyn would be so bad for your country. He'd be so bad, he'd take you in such a bad way. He'd take you into such bad places," Trump told British LBC radio.

Latest polls in the UK suggest that for the time being, the Conservatives have a lead of between 8-17 percentage points.

Corbyn has come under fire from personal scandals before, a September row surrounded Corbyn after it was discovered that he signed his named to the 2002 Cairo Declaration which essentially accuses Israel of carrying out a genocide against the Palestinian people as well as backs armed resistance to "the Jewish state," according to a Telegraph report.

The document, signed by Corbyn and a myriad of other high-level British politicians including close ally and former Communist Party member Andrew Murray, calls for the boycott of Israel and accuses the state of being guilty of systematically administrating "apartheid" against Palestinian citizens.

Afterwards, many moderate party members called out Corbyn's stance, adding that British Jews are fearful of what a government under his leadership might look like.

Corbyn, who is a veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights and a critic of the Israeli government, has long been dogged by charges that he has allowed a culture of antisemitism to thrive in Britain's main opposition party, which he denies.

Nine lawmakers left the party earlier this year over antisemitism and Corbyn's position on Brexit, which has also angered many members who want Labour to adopt an unequivocal pro-European Union position.

More than 60 Labour members of Britain's upper House of Parliament, the House of Lords, signed a statement in a July newspaper accusing leader Corbyn of failing "the test of leadership" over antisemitism in the party.

The statement in The Guardian newspaper, signed by several former ministers from when Labour was in power from 1997 to 2010, has a stark message: "The Labour Party welcomes everyone* irrespective of race, creed, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. (*except, it seems, Jews)."

"You have failed to defend our party's anti-racist values. You have therefore failed the test of leadership."

The statement, signed by about a third of Labour members in the House of Lords include former ministers such as Peter Mandelson, who challenged whether the party could ever win a national election "if we can't get our own house in order."

Labour has been generally struggling to revamp their image as the strong claims of deeply-rooted antisemitic, nationalistic and extremist views emerged around the party throughout recent months.

Such a faceted topic in fact that in July, a BBC program titled Is Labour Antisemitic?, reported that Corbyn's office had interfered in the independent party discipline processes aimed at rooting out antisemitism, a charge rejected by the party.

A Labour spokesperson said the party stood "in solidarity with Jewish people and are fully committed to the support, defense and celebration of the Jewish community" and supports speeding up its procedures to deal with antisemitism cases.

"Regardless of false and misleading claims about the party by those hostile to Jeremy Corbyn's politics, Labour is taking decisive action against antisemitism," the spokesperson said.

In relation and on a more finite note, members of the National Executive Committee (NEC), the governing body of the UK Labour Party, have privately expressed concern that the Equality and Human Rights Commission's (EHRC) antisemitism probe could effectively bankrupt the party if the watchdog hands down a negative ruling, according to a report conducted by The Independent.

The report stated that the main point of contention was discussed during a recent NEC meeting and that members of the executive are worried that a bleak determination by the commission proclaiming improper handling of antisemitic abuses within the Labour Party could open them up to a financially crippling amount of lawsuits from former members of their party, ending in considerable damages going to the plaintiffs in many these cases.

Many members of the NEC are worried about who will be held financially responsible for the hypothetical scenario. "Party officials and allies of Jeremy Corbyn"  promptly "shut down" the discussion at the meeting after some wondered if the committee had a strategy in play for handling the legal fees for litigation proceedings and possible settlements awaiting them on the other side of the commission's verdict, according to the report.

Labour has already struggled financially this year, reporting losses of nearly £655,000 this year as opposed to a £1.7 million gain in party sponsorship the year before, mainly due to the loss of recent membership.

Britain's equality watchdog launched a formal investigation earlier this year to determine whether Corbyn's Labour Party has discriminated against, harassed or victimized people because they are Jewish - as well as failing to protect Jewish members of their party at the time of inquiry.

The report stated that a considerable amount of members of the committee have been asked to provide evidence to the inquiry. Now, a number of NEC members are worried that they might have to personally pick up the bill for these hypothetical legal battles if and when the EHRC hands down a negative decision next year.

Regardless of the odds against Labour government coming to fruition, Corbyn will hope that the chaos affecting Johnson's Conservatives and the ongoing Brexit saga will shift power into Labour's hands.

Alex Winston Contributed to this report


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