Corbyn was urged to make PR visit to JFS to repair ties with Jewish community
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Corbyn was urged to make PR visit to JFS to repair ties with Jewish community

A publicity stunt tour of the UK's biggest Jewish secondary school was among tactics rejected by the former Labour leader to repair his tarnished image, a new book claims.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn giving his keynote speech at the party's annual conference, October 2018. (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire via Jewish News)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn giving his keynote speech at the party's annual conference, October 2018. (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire via Jewish News)

A tour of the Jewish Free School, a progressive synagogue and a Jewish care home were all tactics rejected by Jeremy Corbyn to repair his tainted image within the Jewish community, a new book claims.

Extracts from Left Out, an account of life in the Labour Party under Corbyn by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire, claim Karie Murphy, who served as Corbyn’s chief of staff, put forward proposals for him to visit Auschwitz, speak to pupils at JFS, meet congregants at a progressive synagogue and talk to residents at a Jewish care home. All were rejected.

According to Left Out: “The one proposal from Murphy’s paper that was enacted was that Labour’s code of conduct be amended to ‘comprehensively rule out all forms of prejudice’. The way in which Corbyn interpreted those words would convince much of the Jewish community that he was incapable of grasping another recommendation from the paper: ‘Ensure members understand what is antisemitism.'”

The book, published on 3 September, also reveals new details about the former Labour leader’s now infamous meeting with the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council in April 2018, at which he was urged to endorse the full International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

The book states: “IHRA would become a shorthand for all that the Jewish community distrusted and disliked in Corbyn… Critics of the definition had always contended that these examples were an attempt to police legitimate criticism of the Israeli state’s conduct in Palestine, if not proscribe it altogether. Corbyn had always seen himself as part of the vanguard of that struggle.”

Despite Corbyn’s reluctance, Labour eventually agreed to adopt IHRA.

Left Out: the Inside Story of Labour Under Corbynby Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire is published by Bodley Head on 3 September, priced £18.99

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