Corbyn to Communist paper: Israel has ‘high levels of influence' on media

UK Labour Party leader made the allegation in an op-ed article he wrote for Communist Morning Star newspaper in 2009.

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May 2, 2019 22:28
3 minute read.
Corbyn to Communist paper: Israel has ‘high levels of influence' on media

JEREMY CORBYN, leader of the Labour Party, gives a speech in London last month.. (photo credit: HANNAH MCKAY/ REUTERS)

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote in a 2009 opinion article that the Israeli government had “unbelievably high levels of influence” over “parts of the media,” comments that re-emerged on Thursday and led to further allegations of antisemitism against him.

Corbyn’s comments were directed at the BBC, the UK’s public-service broadcaster, whose director at the time, Mark Thompson, was and is still married to Jane Blumberg, a Jewish woman.

Corbyn also asserted that Israel has control over US foreign policy, writing “How far an Obama administration is prepared to stand up to Israel and limit its control of US foreign policy is unclear.”

The emergence of these comments follows swiftly after the revelation on Wednesday that Corbyn wrote a foreword for an antisemitic book in 2011.

Corbyn’s op-ed, made public on Thursday by UK-based freelance journalist Iggy Ostanin, was originally published in the UK’s Communist Morning Star newspaper on January 28, 2009, shortly after the end of the Israel-Gaza conflict known as Operation Cast Lead.

In his piece, he complained about the BBC’s refusal to broadcast a charity appeal for disaster relief in Gaza which the BBC said it refused to do in order to maintain impartiality.

“What this embarrassing saga demonstrates is the contempt that the BBC directors appear to have for the views of their license fee-payers, and the unbelievably high levels of influence that Israel’s government appears to have in the upper echelons of parts of the media.”

In response to the revelations, the UK organization Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) pointed out that accusations that Jews control the media is one of the best known antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Such allegations also come under the internationally recognized definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which states that contemporary examples of antisemitism include: “making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews,” including “the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media.”

CAA chairman Gideon Falter said that Corbyn’s comments about Israeli governmental influence over the media derived directly from antisemitic theories of Jewish power.

“The notion that the Israeli government has ‘unbelievably high levels of influence’ over the media is a conspiracy theory drawn straight from racist myths about Jewish power,” Falter said.

Alleging that the Labour leader is actually antisemitic, Falter referenced the foreword Corbyn wrote for the antisemitic book Imperialism: A Study by J. A. Hobson, which was revealed on Tuesday night by UK’s The Times newspaper, as well as the conspiracy theory Corbyn advanced in 2012 about what he implied was an Israeli false-flag operation in the Sinai Peninsula against the Egyptian army.

“Jeremy Corbyn has a history of endorsing such conspiracy theories, whether he is accusing ‘the hand of Israel’ of being behind Islamist attacks in Egypt, or writing his glowing foreword to a tome alleging that a ‘peculiar race’ has successfully plotted to control Europe,” said Falter.

“Due to the weight of evidence, we have had no option other than to conclude that the reason Mr. Corbyn promotes these views is that he himself is an antisemite.”

The Labour Party has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Corbyn has, however, responded to the allegations made about his foreword to the antisemitic book – which was first published in 1902, and talked of how “international capitalism” is “controlled by men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them many centuries of financial experience,” referring to Jews and in particular the Rothschild family.

Corbyn, who wrote his foreword in 2011, told the JOE.co.uk website on Wednesday that he deplored the language in the book, which he said referred to “minorities,” but not the ideas about imperialism that it espoused.

“The language in that book to describe minorities is absolutely deplorable and I totally deplore it,” he said. “What my foreword was doing was analyzing the process which led to the First World War, of the wars between empires in Europe – that’s what the book was about. Indeed many, many people have referenced that in speeches they’ve made – not just me – many, many others.”


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