Britain's opposition Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
(photo credit: PETER NICHOLLS/REUTERS)
London-born of British-born parents, two weeks after World War II, I was raised with an immense respect for the power of water – the 25 miles of Channel that saved 330,000 British Jews, listed in the 1941 Wannsee Protocol among the 11 million Jews in 33 countries targeted for Nazi extermination.
Perhaps the justification for my water obsession is proven in the photos of British policemen in WW2 German-occupied British Channel Islands, arresting and deporting 16 Jews to their fate in Nazi concentration camps. A precursor for all those on the mainland.
Yet it was Britain, standing alone that held back a German invasion to win a war in defense of its values and its own salvation. Nevertheless, the post-war Labour government lost the peace for post-Holocaust Jewish survivors, condemned by British Palestine policy to internment camps in Germany and Cyprus until 1948, Israel’s independence.
Mr. Corbyn, British Jews are staunchly British, but have the right to be concerned for their co-religionists, whether in 1945 to 1948, Soviet Jewry in the 1970s and 1980s, Jews in Muslim countries or threats to Israel.
You are quoted as claiming that “Zionists [a clear euphemism for Jews]... having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony.”
Indeed ironic, for so many of these so-called “Zionists” were dedicated voters and members of the Labour Party.
As was my uncle Simon, who – at every family gathering – would bring his trophies of the 1936 Battle of Cable Street in London’s East End. There, he had joined other Labourites to repel the Blackshirt British Union of Fascists. He carried away their banner and the helmet of a policeman, whom he claimed was “over-zealous in defending the Fascists.”
Mr. Corbyn, another speaker at your “Zionists don’t understand English irony” conference, Exeter University Professor Ghada Karmi, was reportedly more direct, as quoted by the Daily Mail: “The Jews were not wanted in Europe... an unpopular, unloved people who were off-loaded into the area [the Middle East].”
Jeremy, where was your rebuttal to language so redolent of Hitler’s “the Jews are our misfortune.”
In 2011, you proposed changing the name of the January 27 (date of Auschwitz liberation) “Holocaust Memorial Day” to “Genocide Memorial Day”... “to reflect that Nazism targeted not only Jews.” Was your true intent to include victims of all genocides or rather to diminish the unique lessons of the Holocaust?
You are no Hitler, but it can be argued that this is how Hitlerism began.
Your rhetoric and retinue have turned the antisemitism lever into a campaign issue, especially in the attacks on remaining Jewish Labourites.
You have garnered the applause of strange bedfellows, such as Nick Griffin, a leader of the extreme right British National Party.
Of even greater concern, your positions have crossed the Atlantic, winning the praise of David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the racist Ku Klux Klan. We strongly recommend that you view the newly released film, “BlacKKKlansman,” to see with whom you are now associated.
UK Jews have defined you as “an existential threat.” I now understand that the power of water has vanished, as the Atlantic and Pacific are only tripwires for seeds of hate to infect the international system.
We, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, consider you, Mr. Corbyn, a global danger! It is time for your resignation, so that you may then freely rant and rave in a vacuum against Jews/Zionists and for any other conspiracy theory.
Only then, can the Labour Party be cleansed to serve, once again responsibly, as Her Majesty’s Opposition.
The writer is director for international relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
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