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The independent London newspaper

Corbyn’s opponents could be boosting anti-Semitism

03 August, 2018

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

• I AM horrified by the continued, baseless, attacks against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, concerning supposed anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, all enthusiastically aired in the right-wing press and, of course, by BBC reporters.

I am a long-standing member of the Labour Party. I have often encountered anti-Semitism, so I know it when I see it, and I have never seen it in the Labour Party.

Daniel Barenboim has condemned recent Israeli government legislation, which diminishes rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and makes him feel ashamed to be Israeli.

The Labour code of conduct on anti-Semitism attempts to allow him to make such statements without, himself a Jew, being branded anti-Semitic.

A recent report by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research found anti-Semitism to be more prevalent on the political right in the UK than on the political left. So where does all of this come from?

Since his surprise election as Labour leader three years ago Jeremy’s political opponents in other parties, as well as among Blairite MPs in his own party, have not ceased their attempts to discredit him by any means possible.

When their efforts to brand him “unelectable” were roundly disproved by his performance in the 2017 general election, they had to find other slurs to use, hence the renewed attacks of “anti-Semitism”, based on the spurious ground that the Labour code of conduct does not entirely follow the wording of the definition of anti-Semitism produced in 2016 by the [little-known] International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

The current furore appears to have been unleashed by Margaret Hodge, a long-time political opponent of Jeremy Corbyn.

That three Jewish newspapers have happily intensified these false claims of anti-Semitism in Labour is shocking but understandable given that, like the mainstream press, they are right-wing publications produced and read by those on the political right.

The Chief Rabbi is an open Conservative supporter and it should not be forgotten that in 1936 the Board of Deputies instructed Jews in the East End not to oppose Oswald Mosley’s march through Cable Street with his Blackshirts. Happily they ignored this instruction and, in spite of strong police support, he was stopped.

I have seen the two recent openly anti-Semitic marches in Whitehall. I did not see Margaret Hodge, or any of the other Labour MPs who constantly attack Jeremy Corbyn, in the small opposition rallies there, or any rabbis.

The fascism on the rise across Europe is truly alarming, but those who fear a socialist Labour leader, and possible future PM, who supports Palestinian as well as Jewish rights to self-determination, know where their priority lies; and it is not in defeating the rise of fascism in this country and across Europe.

Indeed the likely outcome of their campaign is a rise in real anti-Semitism – but this appears not to perturb the Labour leader’s political opponents.

RUTH STEIGMAN
Address supplied

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