Jeremy Corbyn has today said that he is "sincerely sorry" for the pain caused by "pockets of anti-Semitism" in the Labour party. The Labour leader also confirmed that he would be meeting Jewish leaders this week to "rebuild" confidence in his party. Corbyn also said that Labour was "anti-racist" and he "utterly condemns" antisemitism. Corbyn was responding to an open letter to the Labour Party from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council. Here are the opening lines of the letter;
Today, leaders of British Jewry tell Jeremy Corbyn that enough is enough. We have had enough of hearing that Jeremy Corbyn "opposes antisemitism", whilst the mainstream majority of British Jews, and their concerns, are ignored by him and those he leads. There is a repeated institutional failure to properly address Jewish concerns and to tackle antisemitism, with the Chakrabarti Report being the most glaring example of this. Jeremy Corbyn did not invent this form of politics, but he has had a lifetime within it, and now personifies its problems and dangers. He issues empty statements about opposing antisemitism, but does nothing to understand or address it. We conclude that he cannot seriously contemplate antisemitism, because he is so ideologically fixed within a far left worldview that is instinctively hostile to mainstream Jewish communities.
Rather than eviscerate this garbage in a robust response, Corbyn capitulated. What a shame. This latest silliness has come about because of a Facebook post that dates back to 2012. In October of that year the street artist Mear One posted a picture of his mural in east London called "Freedom of Humanity" on Facebook, with the words: "Tomorrow they want to buff my mural. Freedom of expression. London calling. Public Art." Corbyn responded: "Why? You are in good company. Rockerfeller destroyed Diego Viera's mural because it includes a picture of Lenin."
The mural depicts a group of men sitting around a Monopoly board. Above them is a pyramid with the all seeing eye. The artist whose real name is Kalen Ockerman has denied being antisemitic, saying that the mural was about "class and privilege". Given the opportunity to interview Ockerman I would ask him why does he deny that his mural is about Jewish power when it so obviously is and also why he portrayed the men with big noses. Challenging Zionist influence in UK politics is fair and appropriate, however I would argue that reproducing old Nazi caricatures is not. But I defend his right to paint whatever he wants, to say what he wants and importantly to think as he likes. Corbyn was right to lend the artist his support back in 2012, but of course he wasn't Labour leader then and in with a great shout of becoming the country's next Prime Minister. It's astonishing to see how Corbyn and his mates John McDonnell and Seumas Milne (remember his Guardian columns) prostrate themselves before the Zionist lobby when they once led the resistance to it.
Antisemitism is not on the rise in the UK. There is absolutely no evidence anywhere to support this. Claims that attacks on Jews are on the increase, made by Zionist lobby groups like The Campaign Against Antisemitism, have been utterly debunked by the Crown Prosecution Service and importantly by the Institute For Jewish Policy Research which last year conducted what it called "the largest and most detailed survey of attitudes towards Jews and Israel ever conducted in Great Britain". The survey found that the levels of antisemitism in Great Britain were among the lowest in the world, with 2.4% expressing multiple anti-Semitic attitudes, and about 70% having a favourable opinion of Jews. However, only 17% had a favourable opinion of Israel, with 33% holding an unfavourable view. There is no endemic hatred of Jews in the UK, none at all. There is no evidence that Jews are more likely to be victims of crimes motivated by bigotry.
There is however evidence that revulsion for the Zionist apartheid state of Israel is on the rise. It's a joy to behold that, it really is. People make a very definite distinction between their Jewish friends, neighbours and workmates and the actions of the Israeli government. People are waking up to the extent of the influence wielded by the Zionist lobby on public life here. It's in their faces. When they see Priti Patel (then International Development Secretary) taking her holiday in Israel, meeting with the Israeli government and not telling her Prime Minister, they know what's really going on. When they see the Israeli embassy campaigning to smear and attack British citizens critical of Israel and its practices and attempting to destroy politicians like Alan Duncan, they know what's going on. Support for the Boycott Divestment & Sanctions movement is growing too. That's not going down too well in Tel Aviv. There's never been a better time to take on these fascists but rather than do so and make a firm stand for free speech and freedom of thought, Corbyn collapses and Gaza weeps.