‘Corbyn is an antisemite, has corrupted Labour’

The CAA has planned an apolitical rally for December 8, four days before UK national election.

Demonstrators take part in an antisemitism protest outside the Labour Party headquarters in central London in 2018 (photo credit: REUTERS/SIMON DAWSON)
Demonstrators take part in an antisemitism protest outside the Labour Party headquarters in central London in 2018
(photo credit: REUTERS/SIMON DAWSON)
“Jews are gravely concerned about their future in the UK.”
These were the words of Gideon Falter, the founder of the apolitical UK charity Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) and vice chairman of the Jewish National Fund-UK.
Falter spoke with the The Jerusalem Post on Thursday about the organization and several issues facing UK Jewry including antisemitism, the Labour Party, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the upcoming December 12 elections.
He emphasized that as an apolitical charity, “we investigate antisemitic incidents in all parties, but under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party has become the principal source of cases of political antisemitism.
“I am not afraid to say what I see, and I firmly believe that Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite and that he and his allies have corrupted the once fiercely anti-racist Labour Party to become institutionally antisemitic,” Falter told the Post.
On the possibility of Corbyn being elected as prime minister, Falter said that “as a charity, CAA does not advocate for one party or another.”
“It is not our job to try to tell people how to vote,” he said. “However, we continue to publicize instances of antisemitism in all parties, although the cases in the Labour Party far exceed those of any other major party.
“The fact that an antisemite like Jeremy Corbyn has risen this far in British politics, and now may become prime minister, is a terrifying thought for many Jews. Like any antisemite, we must hold him to account,” he stressed.
Asked about how UK Jews are feeling, Falter explained that several polls have shown that a sizeable proportion of the community is considering leaving the country if Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister.
“Chief Rabbi Efraim Mirvis, supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has made an unprecedented intervention by denouncing Jeremy Corbyn and warning that the soul of the nation is at stake, and he has been joined by senior Sephardi Rabbi Joseph Dweck.”
He added that “two prominent Progressive rabbis, Jonathan Romain and Yuval Keren, also wrote to their congregants a couple of weeks ago urging them to vote tactically to keep Labour out.
“It is unheard of in the UK for rabbis to take such steps,” Falter continued. “It is an incredibly clear and courageous intervention… In the UK, Judaism and politics are generally kept apart, and rabbis are careful about disclosing opinions.”
But, he said, “clearly the Chief Rabbi felt that the degree of racism in political life is not a matter of Right or Left, but poses an existential threat to the Jewish community – and that justified taking the step that he did.
“We applaud him for it, as few members of our community have the sort of influence that he does,” he said.
THE CAA has planned an apolitical rally for December 8, “so that Jews and non-Jews alike can say, clearly and with one voice, that we stand together against antisemitism.
“We have very deliberately decided to hold this rally under our Together Against Antisemitism banner, under which we have successfully united Jews and non-Jews following horrific antisemitic acts such as the Pittsburgh synagogue terrorist attack,” he said, emphasizing that this gathering, despite its timing, “will not be a political rally.”
“It’s about showing the Jewish community that now, when they are most worried about their future since the Second World War, the British public stands with us,” he said. “We particularly want to hear from non-Jews that however hated and isolated their Jewish countrymen may feel now, this is a fundamentally decent country and we do not stand alone.”
Asked about why the CAA was formed, Falter said it was established just over five years ago during the summer of 2014 at the height of the Israel-Gaza war.
“There was an outpouring of antisemitism,” he recalled. “One incident that stuck in my mind was a man marching down one of London’s most iconic streets with a sign that read: ‘Save Gaza, Hitler you were right, Jews are terrorists.’ Instead of arresting him, the police protected him.”
Falter made it clear that this “was not the first time that antisemitism in Britain had surged, but this outbreak set a new record – and showed no signs of abating.”
“The Jewish community was alarmed by the authorities’ failure to act, and we established Campaign Against Antisemitism to ensure that the antisemites were stopped,” he said.
Today, the organization has over 1,200 people signed up to donate their time pro-bono, including some of the UK’s most respected lawyers, media professionals and strategists.
Their aim is to “expose and counter antisemitism through education and zero-tolerance enforcement of the law.”
Asked about some of their work, Falter said that, “following work by our lawyers, earlier this year the Equality and Human Rights Commission [EHRC] launched a full statutory inquiry into the Labour Party, which is unprecedented.
“The only other party to be subject to a probe by the EHRC was the neo-fascist British National Party,” he explained, adding that the commission will publish its report next year.
The organization has also succeeded to instigate police arrests of antisemitic Labour activists. “And on a daily basis, we use social media and our website to expose new cases of antisemitism in political parties.”
Volunteers also educate the public about anti-Jewish hate on various media platforms, including TV and radio.
“Additionally, we work closely with the government, including convincing Downing Street to become the first government to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism,” Falter said. “And this year, the Home Secretary agreed to ban Hezbollah fully in the UK. We also train public bodies, speak at schools and universities, and educate the public.”
Asked if he had a message for British voters, Falter said that, “as a charity, we cannot endorse or reject candidates... We hope simply that the decent British public will recognize that racism has no place in our society – and that antisemitism is a poison that threatens the whole of British society, not just Jews.”
He made it clear that as antisemitism rises in the UK and across Europe, the organization is “engaged in the fight for the future of the Jewish people – and we cannot afford to lose.”