Robert Festenstein

Should we – shouldn’t we?

For some time now, the UK Jewish community has been calling for the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition to apologise for his past failings, so that there can be a meaningful dialogue with him.  There have been additional calls for the leader – Jeremy Corbyn – to disassociate himself from those anti-Semites with whom he has been involved for decades.

On Tuesday 4th September 2018, when the Labour Party finally adopted the full IHRA Definition of anti-Semitism, the leader of the party, unsuccessfully, tried to include a statement which made reference to the creation of the Jewish State as a racist endeavour.  That being the case, we can be certain that that there will be no apology or disassociation.  Add to this, his long-standing position as Patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an entity dedicated to the destruction of Israel and his future conduct is almost certain not to change.

The question then arises, if the leader hates us, is there any merit in trying to engage with him?  The current response is that if he becomes Prime Minister we are going to have to deal with him. Will he deal with us though?  The standard approach of politicians when trying to seek office is to try and cultivate as many people and groups as possible, in other words be as accommodating as they can.

Not so with the Jews.  The leader has deliberately refused to engage with the community, see their point of view or just try and get along, which given his continued and current association with our enemies should come as no surprise.   Put it another way, we are banging our heads against a brick wall.

We as a community have limited resources and wasting those on someone who despises us is as time wasting as it is debilitating.  There are still plenty of people in the Labour Party, both in senior positions and at grass roots level who want to engage with, and work with us. We should be concentrating our resources on them.  Leaders come and go, and hopefully this one will go soon.  In the meantime, the community leaders need to make their efforts count for something.

About the Author
Robert Festenstein is a solicitor based in Manchester with considerable experience in Court actions. He is active in fighting the increase in anti-Semitism in the UK and is President of the Zionist Central Council, an organisation devoted to promoting and defending the democratic State of Israel.
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