The media seems to have relished the opportunity to marry together the words 'Labour Party' and 'anti-Semitism' and 'Jeremy Corbyn' over the last few weeks. Personally, I believe that the combined efforts of media and establishment interests to damage the reputation of JC - and thus diminish any chance that he could become the PM after the next General Election - are going to backfire. But then I'm a blue-eyed optimist who is something of a prophet where JC is concerned.
|A parliamentarian with a record on human rights that is second-to-none - Jeremy Corbyn
I have, nevertheless, learned much from David Rosenberg's blogs and want to share some of that knowledge here. Every ripple in the ocean of enlightenment is precious.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews was founded in 1760 and is the main representative body of British Jews. Its actions hit the headlines last week when it organised a demonstration on Monday outside Parliament to protest against the rise of anti-Semitism. It did so in conjunction with the
Jewish Leadership Council. Jews in Britain and throughout Europe and elsewhere have very good reasons for being fearful of the growth in scapegoating and targeting that occurs in periods of economic disruption and political uncertainty. Since the financial crash of 2008, the world has become a more dangerous, unequal and unhappy arena for politicians to follow their creeds and ambitions.
But is it true that there are endemic problems of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party which its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is unable to constrain? That was the sub-text at Monday's demonstration. That was the explicit message in an open letter written at the time by the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council:
"[Jeremy Corbyn] cannot seriously contemplate anti-Semitism, because he is so ideologically fixed within a far-left world-view that is instinctively hostile to mainstream Jewish communities."
My view is that this accusation that JC is ideologically fixed is a classic illustration of projection on the part of the accusers. It is they who have such passionate feelings about defending the state of Israel and the actions of its government, not least with respect to the Palestinian people, that they will do whatever they can to weaken those who criticise that Israeli government by associating them with the real and tangible movement of anti-Semitism that is gathering pace in the world.
|The Palestinian people do not yet have a national state to which they can belong - is this not a human right?
Their aim is made all the more difficult to achieve when they have the figure of Jeremy Corbyn in their sights. He, of all parliamentarians, has such an enviable record of standing up for human rights and exposing racism in all its forms. In a Passover message yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn vowed that he will continue to be an ally in the fight against anti-Semitism and that the Party would do better still in actions to root out racism.
But as David Rosenberg has pointed out, J.C's critics have other agendas:
"Always a socially conservative force in the Jewish community, they continue today to be led and dominated by supporters of the Tory Party ... They still pursue a relentless anti-left agenda, and frequently identify internationalist left movements as anti-Semites ... The current Board of Deputies president, Jonathan Arkush, addressed a crowd of several hundred Jews who welcomed into their ranks that evening non-Jewish guests, such as DUP luminaries, Nigel Dodds, Sammy Wilson and Ian Paisley jr, the veteran far-right Tory Norman Tebbit, and Zac Goldsmith who ran the most appallingly Islamophobic campaign for Mayor against Sadiq Khan in 2016 ...
|Maestro Daniel Barenboim set up the Israeli/Arab youth orchestra in 1999 - there have been times of hope
"If the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, and their bigoted DUP friends, want to take a belated stand against racism, they might want to look instead at the groups attached to the Conservative Party who are developing ever closer relations with the Alt-Right and Identitarian Movement, who are promoting white supremacism, opposition to multiculturalism, and state-assisted repatriation of immigrants to their "natural homelands", such as the Traditional Britain Group (TBG), founded by Tory Party member Gregory Lauder Frost (currently its vice-president), and presided over by Tory peer Lord Sudeley.
"In the 1990s Lauder Frost happily shared a platform with Holocaust revisionists and deniers such as David Irving ... Tory MP Jacob Rees Mogg gave a talk to the Traditional Britain Group in 2013 and chatted amiably with Lauder Frost who was sitting next to him at the event ... Not surprisingly, the TBG led by Tories have called for the removal of one monument from Parliament Square - the statue of the great anti-racist fighter and leader Nelson Mandela. I'm not surprised."
|Rees Mogg and Lauder Frost - TBG dinner - 2013
Neither am I, David. Thank you for shedding a light on these matters ... I should point out that Jacob Rees Mogg distanced himself from the TBG as soon as his attendance came to light and that those attending seemed disappointed in his 'assimilationist' approach to the issue of immigration. But he was there - in that company!