Corbyn siding with anti-Semites rather than Jews, say community leaders
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Corbyn siding with anti-Semites rather than Jews, say community leaders

Letter from the Board and JLC accuses the Labour leader of ignoring communal concerns and failing to 'understand or address' contemporary anti-Semitism

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn was tonight accused of repeatedly “siding with anti-Semites rather than Jews” and of ignoring communal concerns as anger over his personal reaction to anti-Semitism spilled over.

In the strongest condemnation of the Labour leader yet by senior communal figures, he is charged with failing to “understand or address” contemporary anti-Semitism.

The letter – to be presented to the Parliamentary Labour Party chair tomorrow during a major demonstration in Parliament Square – was made public three hours after Corbyn went further than ever before in acknowledging and apologising for anti-Semitism in Labour ranks.

The letter from the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council said: “We’ve had enough of hearing Jeremy Corbyn “opposes antisemitism”, whilst the mainstream majority of British Jews, and their concerns, are ignored by him and those he leads.” It alleges an “institutional failure to properly address Jewish concerns and to tackle anti-Semitism” – pointing to the much-criticised Chakrabarti report as a “glaring” example.

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Corbyn, it says, “personifies the problems and dangers” of the issue on the hard left. “He issues empty statements about opposing anti-Semitism, but does nothing to understand or address it. We conclude he cannot seriously contemplate antisemitism because he is so ideologically fixed within a far left worldview that is instinctively hostile to mainstream Jewish communities.

“He has sided again and again with anti-Semites rather than Jews. At best, this derived 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.”

Not “a single day” goes by when antisemite slanders are not uttered in Labour spaces online or in meetings, with allegations that concerns are made up or at the command of Israel.

“Rightly or wrongly, those who push this offensive material regard Corbyn as their figurehead. They display an obsessive hater of Israel alongside conspiracy theories and fake news. These repeated actions do serious harm to Jews and the Labour Party.

“Corbyn is the only person with the standing to demand that all this stops. Enough is enough.”

The last straw for many senior communal figures was the revelation last Friday that he had questioned the removal in 2012 of a mural featuring classic anti Semitic imagery. He expressed regret for not liking more closely at the image before posting on social media, acknowledging it was right it was removed. He has so far failed to explicitly say sorry though.

The Board of Deputies and the JLC says it was another example where he “never sees or understand antisemitism”. His words on the matter were “too little too late”, they charged.

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