Labor tragedy

Antisemitism will taint the Labour Party as long as Jeremy Corbyn is calling the shots.

Leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn, Shadow Finance Minister John McDonnell and deputy leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson, November 23, 2017 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn, Shadow Finance Minister John McDonnell and deputy leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson, November 23, 2017
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As long as it was headed by Jeremy Corbyn and his fellow travelers on the progressive Left, Britain’s Labour Party could not rid itself of antisemitism. That was the conclusion we reached two years ago because, as we argued at the time, “The fish stinks from the head.”
Britain’s Jewish community has now articulated the identical conclusion, as reflected in a letter hand-delivered to Corbyn on Monday. The letter, titled “Enough is Enough,” is part of a larger protest organized by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council. It argues that Corbyn personifies the form of politics that repeatedly fails to take antisemitism seriously, saying, “Again and again, Jeremy Corbyn has sided with antisemites rather than Jews.”
“At best, this derives from the far Left’s obsessive hatred of Zionism, Zionists and Israel. At worst, it suggests a conspiratorial worldview in which mainstream Jewish communities are believed to be a hostile entity, a class enemy.... We conclude that he [Corbyn] cannot seriously contemplate antisemitism, because he is so ideologically fixed within a far left worldview that is instinctively hostile to mainstream Jewish communities.”
The most recent scandal that yet again exposes Corbyn’s deep-seated, ideology-driven anti-Judaism involves his defense of a mural seemingly inspired by the antisemitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
It emerged recently that in a Facebook comment in 2012, Corbyn defended a street artist whose mural was about to be erased from an east London wall. A group of businessmen and bankers, some of them with stereotypically Jewish faces, are shown playing Monopoly on a board supported on the backs of people with dark complexion.
In a sense, the mural incident was anticlimactic since it dates back six years and is hardly the most demonstrative of Corbyn’s failed moral senses. Earlier this month, for instance, it emerged that, Corbyn was for two years a member of a private Facebook group that featured numerous antisemitic statements, until 2015, the year he won Labour’s leadership race.
Though he vowed to kick out any party member caught making racist or antisemitic statements, he only suspended and did not kick out Ken Livingston, the former mayor of London, who said Hitler supported Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”
A conference presided over by Corbyn in September in Brighton Beach deteriorated into an Israel-bashing fest. Labor Friends of Palestine, a lobbying group supported by roughly half of Labour’s lawmakers, tweeted at the start of the conference, “Labour Two-State solution will END the #occupation – our solution will be the final solution #FreePalestine #EndTheSiege.” The accompanying image was of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem behind barbed wire.
Pamphlets distributed at the conference called for the expulsion of the Jewish Labour Movement. Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports the BDS movement against Israel and says its “main impetus” is to challenge “unjustified allegations of antisemitism... used to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership” made its big debut at the conference and has since used its Jewish credentials to defend the most vicious Israel-bashers.
At no time did Corbyn speak out. Indeed, he has attempted to bury attempts to root out antisemitism. In 2016, he orchestrated an ineffectual investigation into the Labour Party’s “Jewish problem.” The Chakrabarti Inquiry, named after human rights activist Shami Chakrabarti, was labeled “anemic” by Jewish Labour peer Lord Parry Mitchell. Chakrabarti’s subsequent appointment as a Labor MP “smacks of a reward for preparing the report that the leadership wanted,” according to Mitchell and many others.
The same distorted moral sense that make him incapable of recognizing, let alone fighting antisemitism within his own party, drove his support for the Irish Republican Army in the 1980s when it carried out terrorist attacks against innocent civilians; informs his choice to appear on Russia Today and bash the West, not the Putin regime; and blinds him to the iniquity of getting paid to appear on Press TV, the Iranian regime’s propaganda channel, which is banned in the UK for its role in filming the tortured forced-confession of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari.
Antisemitism, support for autocratic regimes, sympathy with Islamist terrorists, will taint the Labour Party as long as Corbyn is calling the shots. What Labour has become is a tragedy, first and foremost for Britain’s Jews, who once felt at home there.