Jewish candidate’s raised eyebrow at Corbyn comment goes viral

Brexit Party candidate’s facial expression of incredulity as UK Labour Party leader said his campaign had not 'descended into the gutter’ generated general merriment on social media

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn reacts at a launch event for the Labour party's general election campaign in London, Britain October 31, 2019.  (photo credit: REUTERS/HENRY NICHOLLS)
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn reacts at a launch event for the Labour party's general election campaign in London, Britain October 31, 2019.
Never before has the merest physical gesture created such mirth as the raised eyebrow of Brexit Party candidate Yosef David in response to UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s comment that his party’s election campaign “did not descend into the gutter.”
In an uproariously comic moment, David’s effervescent left eyebrow threatened to jump clean off the top of his head as Corbyn, whose party has become infested with antisemitism, declared that although Labour had lost the election, it had conducted itself with honor.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, David, a visibly Orthodox Jew who was running in Corbyn’s Islington North constituency, said that his response – caught on TV as he stood next to the defeated Labour leader – was completely instinctive.
“I was absolutely determined not to do some kind of stunt,” he said. “I wanted to be respectful. The eyebrow raise was my honest reaction. It was 2:30 a.m., I’d had lots of coffee, no sleep, and it just seemed a ridiculous thing to say.”
David was referencing the antisemitism crisis that has taken hold of Labour since Corbyn became its leader, in which thousands of complaints of antisemitism have been made against party members, many of which include appalling examples of vitriolic Jew-hatred.
“The Labour Party itself is institutionally antisemitic because it has frustrated processes aimed at dealing with people who are antisemitic, and it has hounded Jewish MPs and other MPs out of the parliament,” said David. “When Her Majesty’s loyal opposition is touting some of these tropes, when a mainstream party with hundreds of thousands of members that used to be on mainstream and now it has got extremists and fringe elements, this is going to have an impact on the discourse.”
David said that after the declaration of results in the Islington North constituency was over, he went over to Corbyn and had a chat with him, and said that the Labour leader was “very friendly,” and asked him about the campaign.
The Brexit Party candidate said he told Corbyn about the antisemitic abuse he himself had experienced on the campaign trail, which he said Corbyn deplored as “disgusting.”
“I told him I don’t think he’s an antisemite, but that he doesn’t know how to empathize with the Jewish community, and that has led to the door being opened for antisemitism,” said David.
The Brexit candidate noted that it was not only the failure to tackle the antisemitism poison that raised his eyebrow, but also the nature of the hard-left Momentum organization within Labour that cheered and supported Corbyn, but which has also been accused of bullying and intimidating opponents of its socialist agenda, and to Corbyn himself.
“Momentum has brought a certain nastiness into British politics, I can’t see them going anywhere, but I’m glad they’ve had some of their teeth removed, as it were,” said David.
Returning to British politics, David said that although he himself only managed to receive some 740 votes, and the Brexit Party failed to have even one candidate elected to Parliament, it had played a decisive role in the election because of its decision not to stand in Conservative-held constituencies, but had drawn support away from Labour in others.
In many of the constituencies in northern England that had been Labour strongholds for generations, the several thousand voters who could not bring themselves to vote for the Conservatives but no longer saw Labour as a viable option cost the Labour candidate the seat.
One such constituency, Rother Valley in the northern country of South Yorkshire, has elected a Labour MP in every election in its 101-year history, yet elected a Conservative MP in Thursday’s vote for the first time, after the Brexit candidate drew more than 6,000 voters away from the Labour candidate.
“This is a definite victory for [Brexit Party leader] Nigel Farage,” said David. “He has never been elected but has influenced the political debate and set the tone for years to come.”
Despite forecasts predicting that household income will be significantly impacted by the UK leaving the European Union under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal – as much as £2,000 per year less according to one estimate – David said that at stake were “matters of sovereignty” and democracy.
“We are a proud democracy,” he said. “We voted to leave the EU, and we are going to be known for years to come as a proud democracy because we honored that vote.” In addition, he said, other nations would now be “lining up” to make trade deals with the UK.