John McDonnell has criticised an “anti-Semitic stereotype” used in open letter signed by thousands of Jeremy Corbyn supporters slamming Jewish community groups as “special interest” with “history and influence”.
The shadow chancellor made his remarks after the letter was published on a Facebook group in support of Jeremy Corbyn, following a community rally against Labour anti-Semitism.
McDonnell took to Twitter to say that “describing Jewish people as a ‘very powerful special interest group’ is an antisemitic stereotype that undermines not supports Jeremy and his determination to unite our communities. Let’s all come together now, not divide.”
The letter appeared to rehash old anti-Semitic tropes about Jews controlling the media, accusing the protest’s organisers of using their “immense strength” to “employ the full might of the BBC” in an “onslaught” against Corbyn.
It appeared on the “We Support Jeremy Corbyn” Facebook group, before being ‘liked’ by more than 2,000 followers, with hundreds more asking to become signatories to the text.
In the letter, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies seem to be accused by Corbyn’s fan-base of launching “a full onslaught of a very powerful special interest group mobilising its apparent, immense strength against you”.
Lord Daniel Finkelstein tweeted about the letter, that it was “truly truly amazing. These people are arguing that the Jews use our influence, power and media control to conspire to make – and here comes the hilarious bit – a FALSE argument that they are antisemitic! The sheer stupidity is staggering even before you get to the racism.
In an interview with Jewish News on Wednesday afternoon, Corbyn reiterated that he had offered to meet representatives of the Board and the JLC, whose leaders have issued joint statements in recent days.