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Karen Harradine: Corbyn is soft on the anti-Semitic tide coursing through Labour


Every week seems to herald a new anti-Semitic scandal within Labour. I can safely predict that there will be more. I am saddened but unsurprised by these disgraces. The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader has had the unintended consequence of exposing the rank anti-Semitism that has infected his Party for decades. Corbyn’s association with Israel-haters and anti-Semites has further enabled this.

No amount of political posturing or virtue signalling by outraged Labour MPs will change this or excuse their complicity in allowing anti-Semitism to fester. Surely those Labour members who voted for Corbyn knew exactly what they were doing when they elected a man well-known for his anti-Israel stance. I am increasingly irritated by articles on Corbyn which presuppose that he is not an anti-Semite, despite going on to document his actions to the contrary.

There is no distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. A basic definition of Zionism means the self-determination of the Jewish people. Any organisation or person claiming to to be anti-Zionist is really advocating the destruction of Israel, the world’s only Jewish state. The support that Corbyn lends to anti-Semites cannot be allowed to continue under the guise of anti-Zionism. Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism and any attempt to deny this only increases Labour’s anti-Jewish problem and Corbyn’s complicity in this. The rot starts at the top and filters downwards, as evidenced by recent events.

Last month, Alex Chalmers, co-chair of Oxford University Labour Club, publicly resigned from his position, citing that members of the club had expressed anti-Semitic views. This month saw fresh claims that another student member of the Labour Party was also guilty of espousing hatred against Jews, this time at the London School of Economics.

And on it goes. Under Corbyn’s watch, conspiracy theorists Gerry Downing and Vicky Kirby were re-admitted to the Labour Party. Both Downing and Kirby act as they are competing for first prize in expressing the worst kind of anti-Semitic hatred. They were only kicked out again after this debacle was exposed by the political blogger Guido Fawkes.

Despite harbouring such hate-filled views, Kirby was voted in as vice-chair of Woking Labour Party. The rot of Jew-hatred is now so deep within the Labour Party that those who adhere to these views rise to the top, like scum in a pot of over-boiled chicken soup. To be labelled an anti-Semite holds no shame for these people. It is now a trendy badge of honour.

Last Sunday Andrew Gilligan wrote an expose of one of Corbyn’s ‘friends’. Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of Finsbury Park mosque, has called for the destruction of Israel. Kozbar is not the only member of Corbyn’s motley assortment of terrorist-loving and Israel-hating associates who advocates this. Corbyn has also referred to the terrorist organisations, Hamas and Hezbollah, as ‘friends’. Although the Hamas Charter promotes the slaughter of all Jews, this did not stop Corbyn from going on a trip to Gaza, sponsored by Interpal, a Hamas fund-raising charity.

Corbyn also has called Raed Salah, a Muslim cleric who advocates the blood libel, an ‘honoured citizen’. When accused of sharing a platform with Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, Corbyn’s weak response was that he had only recently found out that Eisen was a Holocaust denier. Surely a quick glance at Eisen’s website would have shown him all there is to know as to why a decent person would run screaming in the opposite direction from Eisen, instead of electing to share a platform with him. The excuse Corbyn offered is no excuse at all.

Until last year Corbyn was chair of Stop the War, an Islamist supporting and Israel-hating organisation. Another anti-Israel group, which Corbyn continues to support, is the Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC). Their abhorrent antics include the promotion of the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions Campaign (BDS), aimed at the destruction of Israel. The PSC also like to scream their hatred outside Israeli-owned shops. Corbyn can protest all he wants that the PSC is not anti-Semitic but this will not erase the similarity between images of Kristallnacht and a rabid PSC mob outside an Ahava shop in Brighton.

Corbyn sure has a problem with Israel. Given that Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, I can only logically conclude that Corbyn therefore has a problem with Jews. A person cannot be devoted to so many anti-Israel causes without having acquired some distaste for Jews. The man was even incapable of uttering the word ‘Israel’ when he spoke to Labour Friends of Israel last September.

Corbyn insists that he opposes anti-Semitism. I would be very interested to know how he came to this conclusion given that he could not bring himself to say the name of the world’s only Jewish state.

I have not have met Corbyn. But reams of documented evidence indicate to me that this is not a good man, despite his carefully cultivated image as an anti-racist campaigner. Sometimes actions really do speak louder than words. Corbyn’s unsavoury associations and lack of adequate responses to anti-Semitism within the Labour Party make me doubt protestations that he is not an anti-Semite.

J’accuse, Corbyn, J’accuse!

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Karen Harradine
Karen Harradine
Karen is an anthropologist and freelance journalist. She writes on anti-Semitism, Israel and spirituality. She is @KarenH777on Twitter.

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