Can everyone PLEASE stop using the ‘A’ word?

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)

The Jewish community has always proudly defined itself by the contribution it makes to British life. As the Chief Rabbi emphasised this week to devastating effect, thanks to the Labour Party it is now tragically defined by antisemitism.

And, quite frankly, everyone is sick and tired of hearing it.

The enormity of Ephraim Mirvis’ shocking intervention in The Times this week, two weeks before election day, cannot be overstated.

Nobody in the Jewish community, not the Chief Rabbi nor indeed my newspaper which, last year, united with two other Jewish papers to publish identical front pages warning a Corbyn government would be a threat to British Jews, wants to face this harrowing ordeal day after day, month after month, year after year.

Like the rest of the country, British Jews want a Labour Party that, at its best, mirrors British values. A party that stands up for minorities, gives hope to the young and cares for the old. That’s why, for the majority of British Jews, a vote for Labour at election time always seemed the only moral choice.

Not this time. Not this party.

The Labour Party at this election has lost its soul, its legacy, its Britishness.

The Chief Rabbi accused Corbyn of spreading “antisemitic poison”, but stopped short of calling him antisemitic. So is he? It’s a question many have asked but only Jeremy Corbyn can answer.

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

He certainly gets on marvellously with antisemites. He likes anti-Jewish murals, mourns antisemitic terrorists and befriends the psychopaths of Hamas and Hezbollah. He shows genuine warmth towards people who, given half a chance, would slaughter every single Jew, from Tel Aviv to Tottenham.

Last week, footage emerged of him backslapping someone straight after they claimed Zionism made Jews “immoral”. This is Corbyn in his comfort zone.

This is why Labour is only the second political party after the BNP to be investigated for antisemitism by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, a watchdog set up by Labour.

Labour is fielding candidates at this election who shouldn’t be allowed in the party, let alone Parliament. Instead of firmly shutting the door in their faces, they are welcomed in and made would-be MPs.

Labour’s candidate in Harlow defended a blog about a ‘Jewish final solution’. Labour’s candidate in Coventry South told a pro-Israel tweeter told to “jump off a cliff”. Labour’s candidate in St Ives is in a band that sings From the River to the Sea’, a song calling for Israel’s destruction. Labour’s candidate in Poplar and Limehouse shared social media posts about “Zionist masters”. Labour’s candidate in Leeds East lied on national TV when he denied saying “Zionism is the enemy of peace”.

Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Swinson, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.

Five others have been removed for antisemitism – after intense media pressure. This lot should follow, but don’t hold your breath.

These are precisely the sort of people who’ve enthusiastically joined the party since Corbyn took over.

Call them out for what they are and he denounces his core support.

That’s Corbyn’s catch 20-Jew.

Rather than asking if Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic, a more revealing question might be: what is it about the Labour Party that antisemites find so attractive? The answer is simple. Jeremy Corbyn.

That’s the truth every voter must choose to ignore if they vote Labour on 12 December.

About the Author
Richard Ferrer has become a leading voice on Jewish communal issues since becoming editor of the Jewish News in 2009, writing about contemporary Jewish life for a national audience. He edited the Boston Jewish Advocate, America's oldest Jewish newspaper and created the Channel 4 series Jewish Mum of the Year.
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