I was wrong about Jeremy Corbyn
Yet, despite all this, part of me still refused to believe Corbyn actually held anti-Semitic views. I thought he was willing to overlook anti-Semitism from people he considered his political allies, to forgive it as part of ‘the greater struggle’, or to suffer from a lack of judgement in what counted as anti-Semitism and what counted as “anti-Zionism” — itself inexcusable, and ruling him ineligible to be Labour leader.
Since his election as Leader of the Labour Party in 2015, Jeremy Corbyn has been beset by accusations about his character and ability to lead Britain’s main opposition. He and his supporters have been accused of misogyny, bullying, duplicity and unelectability. These issues have been argued about since day one, and this will doubtless continue, yet the latter accusation has, to some extent at least, been called into question by the 2017 election. However, arguably the issue that has caused the most consternation, controversy and concern is the enduring issue of anti-semitism.
There is no doubt that Corbyn’s record on the issue has always been, at the very best, suspect. He has happily fraternised with some of the most flagrant anti-Semites on the “left”, including Raed Salah, convicted of propagating the medieval blood libel conspiracy and Jackie Walker, a woman who would sidestep the accusation of her declaring Jews to have been the ‘chief financiers of the slave trade’ by stating there is ‘no definition of anti-Semitism from Labour that she can work with’. He defended Stephen Sizer, a man who frequently cites holocaust deniers and suggested Israel were behind 9/11, as being criticised for ‘daring to speak up against Zionism’. He attended at the conferences of Paul Eisen, a holocaust denier who compared Zionism to Nazism and authored such works as ‘Jewish Power’, after he had been exposed as a holocaust denier and comprehensively shunned by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The list goes on.
Yet, despite all this, part of me still refused to believe Corbyn actually held anti-Semitic views. I thought he was willing to overlook anti-Semitism from people he considered his political allies, to forgive it as part of ‘the greater struggle’, or to suffer from a lack of judgement in what counted as anti-Semitism and what counted as “anti-Zionism” — itself inexcusable, and ruling him ineligible to be Labour leader. My grandfather’s family took in two Czech Kindertransport refugees, and it was always instilled into me that anti-Semitism was a horrific and unforgivable mental aberration. Despite the mounting evidence against Corbyn, I still found it hard to believe that this mild-mannered old man, famed more for his love of jam and railway books, was guilty of a mindset so heinous and depraved.
However, last week Corbyn was revealed to have been a member of the ‘Palestine Live’ Facebook group. The group included figures such as Paul Eisen, mentioned earlier, Gilad Atzmon, another man disowned by pro-Palestinian activists for a litany of anti-Semitic tirades (including ‘we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously) and Jenny Tonge, expelled from the Liberal Democrats for numerous incidents of anti-Semitism. Members of the group discussed ‘JewNazis’, shared links from the ex-KKK leader David Duke and the Neo-Nazi ‘Daily Stormer’. In one post, a member posts how they are reading Mein Kampf and declares ‘everybody should be forced to read it, especially Jews who have their own agenda as to why they were not liked’.
Jeremy Corbyn was not simply a member of this group, but an active member. He commented on posts talking about ‘zios’, liked posts within the group and even organised an event for it, apologising for his absence in a thread also commented by such anti-Semites as mentioned earlier. There is not one recorded instance of him criticising any of the above comments. Worse still, despite claiming that the administrator of the group, Elleanne Green was simply a mere ‘acquaintance’ of his, evidence has come to light that Corbyn and her in fact knew each other very well. It will come as no surprise that Green has promoted the theory that Israeli intelligence services were behind 9/11 and the terrorist attacks in Paris, that the BBC is ‘completely controlled’ by Rothschild influence, that Israel may have bombed its own embassy in London as a ‘false flag’ and that the Jewish state is ‘stealing children to sell on the black market’. It will also sadly come as no surprise that there is no evidence at all of Jeremy Corbyn condemning such comments.
There comes a time when you have to stop making excuses for people, stop searching for the best in someone and realising that the worst that you always feared may have been the truth all along. For me, this was that time.
This is not that old friend at school who suddenly shares something from ‘keep Britain british!!’, this is not your grandparents at Christmas lunch talking about immigrants coming to the UK for heart bypasses, this is an assembly of some of the most rancid and depraved people in the political arena who Jeremy Corbyn has deemed to be his political allies. He has chosen their company. He has chosen to defend them. Excuse them. Legitimise them. He has failed to call out their medieval prejudices, prejudices which have led to untold suffering, persecution and murder throughout the last millennia. Are we really to believe that such a man has no sympathy for them? That he has existed among such squalor and wretchedness and avoided becoming tainted by his surroundings? Would we even countenance being as charitable to a Tory leader being charged with even half of what he has been accused of? Don’t waste my time. I was wrong about Jeremy Corbyn. I was too kind.