Also, it will require all those in high leadership position who stood arm locked with the Marxist Corbyn defending him, to step down as well. This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post and republished here with the author’s consent.
CAN LABOUR OVERCOME ANTISEMITISM AS LONG AS CORBYN IS CHAIRMAN?
Deputy Chairman of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, recently admitted that the antisemitism problem within the Labour party has deteriorated in the last year. In a message to the Jewish Labour Movement he said the problem was not “just with individual cases of antisemitism” but with “wider patterns of association.” Watson mentioned that he was ashamed that antisemitism was “ignored or minimized or excused” by some Labour members.
Watson’s statement begs the question whether the party can overcome antisemitism as long as Jeremy Corbyn is chairman. This has been doubtful for a long time. There are many new indications that Corbyn is highly unmotivated when it comes to this subject. He has been far too close to various antisemites for years. In addition, when he became chairman he promoted antisemites. A series of events in the last three months show that Corbyn is far too much a part of the antisemitism problem to reasonably expect a decent solution.
Labour has said that it wants to deal with the majority of antisemitisn complaints by the end of July. The party appointed a leading Jewish lawyer, Gordon Nandell, to oversee the disciplinary process. There have been many revelations of his links to the party’s hard left and activists involved in antisemitism. Upon these disclosures, Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger asked the party’s National Executive Committee “to review the appointment.” She tweeted: “This individual had made worrying statements on social media and was identifiably connected to organizations and individuals that seek to deny the antisemitism problem. We were ignored.” She also said that she “had no faith in how the party was going to tackle antisemitism.”
In March 2018, Corbyn said that since he became party chairman, there have been 300 complaints of antisemitism. He added that 150 people have either been expelled or resigned. Corbyn reported the backlog of complaints to be 60 cases.
The Daily Mail reported a backlog of 74 cases and added that MP John Mann said he knew of another 130 complaints. One source in Labour told the paper: “Many of these cases include the most shocking and blatant antisemitism that would make even a committed Nazi blush.”
In April, a highly emotional meeting took place in the House of Commons. During this meeting, Berger, the parliamentary chair of the Jewish Labour Movement said, “In 2018 antisemitism is now more common place, more conspicuous and more corrosive within the Labour Party.” She added “They have said that I am Tel Aviv’s servant and called me a paid up Israeli operative. Essentially, this is antisemitism of the worst kind, suggesting that I am a traitor to our country.” Berger received a standing ovation. Corbyn then walked out of the Chamber.
Other Jewish Labour MP’s also spoke at the meeting. Ruth Smeeth, said that she had fallen victim to attacks “from within the Labour family.” Ivan Lewis said he was convinced that “Mr. Corbyn was not an antisemite himself.” He added: “His leadership has attracted new members whose antisemitism is pernicious and exposed long standing members whose use of antisemitic language and imagery is shocking.”
Louise Elman remarked: “It was a fallacy to believe that people who profess to be antiracist cannot be antisemitic.” Dame Margaret Hodge observed she “felt like an outsider in Labour.” She added: “I have never felt as nervous and frightened as I feel today at being a Jew.” She went on to say “it feels as if my party has given permission for antisemitism to go unchallenged.” Alex Sobel quoted what was posted about him on a Facebook page: “Why is this Jewish Zio-Nazi speaking in the English parliament.”
During that debate, MP Mann, who is not Jewish, said that the far left Momentum group –– Corbyn’s main supporters in the party –– were “targeting Jewish members of the parliamentary Labour party because they are Jewish.” He mentioned that his wife was sent a dead bird via the post from a Labour Marxist antisemite. His wife was also threatened by a leftist antisemite with rape.
Cobyn’s closest relationship with Jews in recent months was with the extremist anti-Israeli group, Jewdas. He participated in their Passover Seder. This organization called Israel a “steaming pile of sewage which needs to be properly disposed of.”
In April the heads of the representative Jewish organizations the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and the Board of Deputies (BoD) met with Corbyn. Afterwards they said that he had failed to agree to any of their requests to tackle antisemitism. In May 2018, Jonathan Arkush, outgoing President of the BoD, the umbrella organization of British Jewry, claimed that Corbyn held antisemitic views. He mentioned that the Labour leader had been chairman of the Stop the War organization which is known for some of the worst anti-Israel discourse.
All these developments over the past few months have come on top of two years of the party’s procrastination on the antisemitism issue and a botched investigation into this hatred by Shami Chakrabarti, now Baroness Chakrabarti. There were also many empty promises by Corbyn to deal with antisemitism as well as appointments to important party positions of the antisemite Ken Livingstone and Hamas supporter Seumas Milne. Before becoming chairman Corbyn called Hezbollah and Hamas his “friends,” and invited them to the House of Commons. He also gave financial support and attended meetings of an NGO headed by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen.
In the future, developments may become even more problematic. The current Conservative government is handling the crucial Brexit negotiations with European Union poorly. It can thus not be excluded that Corbyn could end up being the next Prime Minister of the UK.