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    Here’s what I think: Anti-semitism and the Labour Party

    Since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party in 2015, the strongest and most cutting criticism of him and his leadership has been surrounding anti-semitism. Unending media coverage and jabs from politicians from other parties have brought into the mainstream the assumption that Corbyn and Labour are anti-Semitic, and that him and them being elected would be a disaster for British Jews, and Jews across the world.

    Here’s what I think: Anti-semitism and the Labour Party 1
    Tom Cleaver

    The issue has brought into the mainstream the Jewish Chronicle, who’s editor Stephen Pollard has been unrelenting in his criticism of Corbyn over the last few years, and even prompted the Chief Rabbi of the U.K. Ephraim Mervis to publish a letter calling Jeremy Corbyn “unfit to be Prime Minister” this week. The issue dominated Andrew Neil’s interview of Corbyn, and here we are again with the issue dominating the headlines.

    First of all, it is true that there are anti-semites, and that there exists anti-semitism within the Labour Party. I have seen anti-semitism from Labour Party members with my own two eyes, and I know that it is a problem. It is also a problem that the Labour Party’s process for dealing with cases of potential anti-semitism is a long and bureaucratic one, which can also be frustrated by legal challenges along the way from the accused.

    three parliamentary candidates have been suspended for anti-semitism: two tories and a lib dem

    I guess you can see why Jewish leadership came out so fervently against against the Labour Party, then, given the anti-semitism that I have seen and I am sure you will have heard about. However, it is not as simple as that. In this General Election so far, three Parliamentary Candidates have been suspended for anti-semitism, and as I’m sure will be obvious given media coverage, two were Conservatives and one was a Liberal Democrat.

    Five minutes research would show you that there are anti-semites of all political colours, and would indicate that far from being purely a Labour problem, anti-semitism is rife in British society. Going further, British society is inherently racist anyway. You need look no further than Boris Johnson’s catalogue of racist remarks about “letterboxes”, “bank robbers”, or “picanninies with watermelon smiles”, Change UK’s describing of non-white people as having a “funny tinge” to see that.

    if you look at corbyn’s actions in response to a racist society, you would come to a different conclusion

    Without wishing to turn this into a party political broadcast, if you accept that British society is inherently racist and then look at Jeremy Corbyn’s actions in response to that, you would come to a rather different conclusion to what you thought you knew. In the 1980s, for example, he was arrested for protesting against Apartheid at a time when common opinion and the British Government of the day had Nelson Mandela down as a terrorist. It was Jeremy Corbyn, too, who in 1977 organised the defence of Jewish-populated Wood Green from a National Front march.

    If everything I’m saying is true, and it is, why have the Jewish Chronicle and the Chief Rabbi acted in this way? The answer is simpler and more obvious than you may have thought. The fact of the matter is that the editor of a large religion-based newspaper and the head of that religion in an entire country are wealthy and conservative, as most religious leaders are.

    when has any country’s religious leadership ever been in favour of a transformative socialist government?

    The Hindu Council and the Archbishop of Canterbury making similar statements in recent weeks confirms the obvious: wealthy religious conservatives are working to protect their interests against the potential of a Labour government. Think about this for a second: when has any country’s religious leadership ever been in favour of a transformative socialist government?

    To conclude, I am in no way trying to say that anti-semitism does not exist in the Labour Party, but simply that painting anti-semitism as a Labour problem rather than a societal one is a dishonest act and one that has no relationship with the truth, or the words and actions of the Labour Party’s leadership. We live in a racist society, and if we want to change that, we should probably stop attacking the people who have fought against racism all their lives.

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