Jack Mendel
Online Editor at Jewish News

Anti-Semitism is a problem in Labour – and I can prove it

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn may have apologised for ‘hurt and pain’ caused by ‘pockets’ of  anti-Semitism – but many of his followers still fervently reject the problem exists in the party at all.  They’re wrong, and I can prove it.

I have first-hand understanding of the how this problem persists as web editor at the Jewish News. I compiled a thread on Twitter documenting 41 of these instances, and I could have used many more.

But frankly, I’m sick of having to explain myself and justify the existence of this problem.

It ranges from brazen examples, to more subtle forms of Jew-hate, but it’s undeniable.

Let’s start with the Labour council candidate Alan Bull, who said the Holocaust was a ‘hoax’. This is local politics.

Then there’s Jeremy Corbyn himself, calling Hamas and Hezbollah ‘friends’, while supporting blood libel sheikh, Raed Saleh, who was convicted in Israel.

Corbyn supporting Raed Saleh

But it’s not only brazen anti-Semitism that exists. It’s also subtle, new forms of hate, shrouded in new-fangled rhetoric often referring to ‘Zionism’ or the Middle East conflict.

Jeremy  was a member of both ‘Palestine Live’ and the ‘History of Palestine’ Facebook groups, which were shown to be riddled with anti-Semitism, often hiding behind the cloak of pro-Palestine activism.

Palestine Live was exposed by blogger David Collier,  while the History of Palestine included posts about Israel harvesting organs. These groups Corbyn supposedly didn’t know about or see the anti-Semitic content present in – but was seen commenting in nonetheless.

While digging through the sewer of the ‘History of Palestine’ group, a man named ‘Ali Mosabbir’ added Corbyn to the group. On Friday, as the scandal over the anti-Semitic mural was breaking, he revealed his views in a single tweet. He said the election of Miriam Mirwitch, a Jewish woman, as chair of the Young Labour, was a plan to turn it into the ‘Jews Labour Party’.  Despite stating that he’s member of Labour and Momentum on social media, the party says he was expelled in September 2017.

But, These are the circles Corbyn lives in.

Let’s move into anti-Semitism found in comparisons to the Holocaust. After saying Hitler had supported Zionism in 2016, this year, Ken Livingstone marked Holocaust Memorial Day by appearing on Press TV, to ask “has the Holocaust been exploited to oppress others”.

He is suspended from Labour – so he is still in the party. Why, Jeremy? Why cause so much pain for the Jewish community?

Other examples include Vicki Kirby, who posted a number of incendiary tweets about “the real oppressors” Israel, in which she said “Hitler now seems to be their teacher”, calling him a Zionist god.

Vicki, saying Israel (the Jewish state) has been inspired by the Nazis (who murdered 6 million Jews) is purposefully flipping the oppressor with the oppressed, implying Israel are the new Nazis.

It’s clear anti-Semitism.

Whatever form anti-Semitism takes in Labour – you can rest assured that accusations of anti-Semitism – will be accompanied by anti-Semitism denial.

Whether that’s MP Chris Williamson saying anti-Semitism has been ‘weaponised’ and calling suspensions ‘ridiculous’ –  or claims of anti-Semitism being dismissed with the same standard phrase over and over again: ‘criticising Israel isn’t the same as anti-Semitism’.

Chris Williamson (right) next to suspended activist Jackie Walker at the event in Peterborough

Jews have had enough of being dismissed as leading whinging, attention seeking and politically motivated ‘smears’.

The Party has more than half a million members – but that’s no excuse for anti-Semitism, and it can no longer be supressed by a press– which condemns anti-Semitism, and insists it’s an anti-racist party.

This problem won’t go away until it’s tackled at the root – from the top down – from the example set by the leader – and that is why the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council demonstrated in Westminster on Monday.

The inadequate platitudes that seek to take on Jew-hate by banging on about procedures for getting rid of it have to end. Action is needed before there are no more Jews in the Party.

About the Author
Jack Mendel is Online Editor at Jewish News UK
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