UK Labour divided & behind in the polls: Corbyn refuses definition on anti-semitism

August 26, 2018 by Michael Danby
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You wouldn’t hardly know it in Australia, but for the last month Britain has been transfixed by the renewed row over Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to address rampant anti-Jewish bigotry in UK Labour…writes Michael Danby.

Corbyn laying a wreath in Tunisia during the “International Conference on Monitoring the Palestinian Political and Legal Situation in the Light of Israeli Aggression” in September 2014

Corbyn’s executive proposed to water down the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism. Worse, since then, have appeared of him images of him in Tunisia laying a wreath in a graveyard where terrorists who perpetrated the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.

Corbyn has:

–         Refused to attend two regular weekly meetings of the Parliamentary Labour Party in the House of Commons where his critics were to move the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/antisemitism-definition-labour-party-jeremy-corbyn-jewish-holocaust-uk-parliament-a8460796.html

–         Refused to front a media conference to answer questions on anti-Jewish racism, although he rolled his eyes. (https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/15/jeremy-corbyn-rolls-eyes-asked-laid-wreath-terrorists-grave-7840451/)

–         Refused to meet with the leadership of the UK Jewish community over the anti-Semitism definition, UK Jewry insist Labour not make decisions about anti-Semitism, although he me them back in February widespread in his own party, without consulting them.

In Britain Corbyn’s anti-Jewish leaning is not a boutique issue. It is on the front page of every newspaper and in the lead item of many TV bulletin. With the Tories tearing each other apart over Brexit, UK Labour should be 20 points ahead in the opinion polls. Instead, one poll shows Corbyn 4 points behind Teresa May. Israel may be unnaturally unpopular in the UK, but the British public are confounded by the far left/Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to resolve this anti-Semitism row which is  normally lower order issue. Most UK political observers say Corbyn’s failure to address this Jewish issue is the reason the British public has marked him down.

And it gets worse. Deputy Labour party leader Tom Watson has says his party will “disappear into a vortex of eternal shame” unless is resolves the definition and action over anti-Semitism in UK Labour (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/aug/04/tom-watson-labour-antisemitism-eternal-shame ). He has demanded that his ‘leader’ Corbyn:

–         Adopt without equivocation the internationally accepted IHRA definition of anti-Semitism

–         Drop the charges against the two MPs who had the temerity to criticize Corbyn publically over the issue (one of them against Dame Margaret Hodge had been dropped in the meantime).

–         Ruthlessly apply the full weight of the IHRA and expel hundreds of far left activists who have attached themselves to UK Labour and who rabbit on about the ‘Rothschild’s Banks’, the ‘Zionists controlling the media’ and comparing Israel to the Nazis.

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, May 12, 2017.
Credit: Chatham House, London/Wikimedia Commons

Fortunately there is a great deal of pushback to Corbyn’s stance. The Guardian and the BBC, although trenchant critics of Benjamin Netanyahu, have been like the rest of the British Media outraged at Corbyn’s uncivilised behaviour. No wonder the British Home Secretary Saiid Javid has called for Corbyn to resign. He has been joined now by former Labour PM Gordon Brown who says Corbyn must modify Labour’s stance and agree to the full definition of anti-Semitism. While Corbyn’s far left army of trolls has responded violently on social media to this exposure of their man, three major British trade unions (who hold two thirds of the delegates at the British Labour Conference) have repudiated Corbyn. They insist that he and his office adopt the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. But no, Seumas Milne, Corbyn sinister Svengali has said the he will “die on a hill” rather than let his leader moderate and agree to IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. (https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/corbyn-team-in-rift-over-attempt-to-end-crisis-1.468136 )

It is heartening to see the British Jewish community standing as one, standing up the extremists who run Corbyn’s office. UK Jewry accused of being ‘trembling Israelites’ have coined a slogan to respond to Corbyn and Co – “ Enough is Enough”

When the Parliament annually meets in September British Board of Deputies are upping the ante with a demonstration of solidarity in Manchester on September 14th when Parliamentary Labour will resume to demand Corbyn act firmly against this prejudice. Then at the meeting in the Commons I believe the majority of decent Labour MPs will revolt against Corbyn and Co. It is a common cliché that remains true as ever that “Jews are the canary coalmine: of the political mental health of any society. For what Corbyn portends for UK Jewry he portends for Britain generally, if G-d forbid he was to be elected. Robert Shrimsley’s insight in his column in the London Financial Times explains:

“The row, offers a broader lesson about the nature of Mr Corbyn’s party. After all, you have to admire the excruciating purity of the leader and his acolytes. Here we have a government imploding over Brexit. An early election is at least possible. And what does Mr Corbyn do? He embarks on a fresh dispute about anti-Semitism… His party is in touching distance of power, yet he is ready to risk it all for the purity of his ideals… Mr Corbyn’s views should be taken literally. Voters should take at his word a man whose world view is underpinned by anti-Americanism, who wants to scrap the nuclear deterrent and leave NATO. They should assume that invaluable US intelligence-sharing arrangements will be scrapped. those hoping that political or financial realities will temper Mr Corbyn’s actions should look at the extent he is prepared to damage his party over the definition of anti-Semitism and recognise that what you see is likely to be what you get.”

The Hon. Michael Dandy is a former Jnr. Minister in the Gillard Government and was the long standing Chair of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

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