A victory over hate

Corbyn’s loss was extremely important as the world sees a rise in antisemitism.

JEREMY CORBYN, leader of the Labour Party, gives a speech in London last month. (photo credit: HANNAH MCKAY/ REUTERS)
JEREMY CORBYN, leader of the Labour Party, gives a speech in London last month.
(photo credit: HANNAH MCKAY/ REUTERS)
Sanity and the fight against antisemitism won a resounding victory on Thursday after Boris Johnson trounced Jeremy Corbyn in the British general election. According to the BBC, Johnson will govern Parliament with a healthy majority of 80 seats, giving him a comfortable platform on which to lead the UK out of the European Union.
The electoral contest pitched the Brexit-touting Conservative Party led by Johnson against the hard-left, socialist Labour Party headed by Corbyn.
While the overriding issue for the British was Brexit, for the Jewish world and Israel, it was Corbyn and his blatant antisemitism. It was such a clear hate for Jews that multiple Israeli politicians openly called him an antisemite and urged British citizens not to vote for the Labour Party.
While this could have been viewed as interference in another country’s elections, it was deemed vital for the future of Britain and British Jewry, threatened by the possibility that an antisemite would become leader of the United Kingdom.
Since Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party in 2015, it has become riddled with antisemitism. Hundreds of complaints have been submitted against party members at every level – from Corbyn himself, to MPs, local council members, candidates for MP and local councils, activists and more.
This was an inherent and deep-seeded hatred that now needs to be uprooted with Corbyn’s loss to Johnson. We hope that it will.
For decades, the Labour Party was home to many Jewish voters and it is possible that one day it will be again. For that to happen though the party needs to repent and go through a period of reckoning. It needs to go through its ranks and purge anyone affiliated with the antisemitism and Jewish hate that has taken hold of the party ever since Corbyn took it over four years ago.
Corbyn’s loss was extremely important as the world sees a rise in antisemitism. In the US, armed men shot and killed four people in a Jewish super market in Jersey City last week after; a week earlier, a number of Jews were attacked and beaten in Brooklyn. According to a study conducted in October by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), antisemitism has grown throughout Europe in recent years. The Yom Kippur attack in Halle, Germany, is just one recent example.
The survey further found that 65% of French citizens and 43% of Germans consider antisemitic occurrences a “very seriously problem.”
This situation is what led World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder last week to announce the establishment of a new organization to fight antisemitism, setting aside $25 million of his own money for the campaign.
“The keyword for all these things is ‘action,’” Lauder told The New York Times. “Because we’ve had polls, we’ve had conferences, we’ve had different speeches. But no action.”
The British vote on Thursday was a clear case of action and while antisemitism wasn’t the primary concern for most of the voters, Johnson’s victory was a defeat of the ancient canards and tropes that have led to the persecution of Jews for millennia.
Conservative Minister Michael Gove thanked the British people for “comprehensively rejected Corbyn’s politics of division, extremism, and antisemitism.”
Addressing Britain’s Jewish population, he added: “You have had to live in fear for months now, concerned that we would have a prime minister who trafficked in anti-Jewish rhetoric and embraced anti-Jewish terrorists. You should never have to live in fear again.”
We hope Gove is right and that Britain finds a way to heal. Corbyn has already announced that he will step down from the head of Labour and while that is an important step, what is really needed is for the party to undergo a serious process of introspection and reflection to see how it allowed hatred of Jews to take over.
The lesson will hopefully be internalized by other antisemitic politicians around the world. Hatred of Jews does not pay. It might make noise and create headlines, but ultimately, the people of Britain showed that they will not let their country be taken over by antisemitism. We hope the rest of the world is paying attention.