Let’s be clear. The unease felt in the Jewish community at the prospect of a Corbyn victory was real, and crossed communal lines.
Protesters throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the Bristol harbour, during a Black Lives Matter protest rally on June 7, 2020, in response to the recent killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, USA, that has led to protests in many countries and across the US. (photo: AP Images)
ewish lives matter less.
That’s the only logical conclusion of the British left’s mass support for the toppling of slave trade-era statues in Britain in the wake of the George Floyd protests – in some cases, the very people unmoved by the Jewish community’s fear at the hostility they found in Corbyn’s circles just last year.
“It is understandable that people in Bristol have finally become exasperated with the years of debate on having a statue of a man whose wealth was founded on slavery – as Edward Colston’s was – and have taken action,” tweeted Jeremy Corbyn, after a crowd in the English town brought down the figure of an eighteenth-century slave-trader.
That, coming from a man who saw no evil in an East London mural of bankers counting money on a Monopoly-style board supported by the backs of black men, and which the local mayor said “perpetuated antisemitic propaganda,” spoke loud and clear.
His curious justification for defending the mural – on supposed free-speech grounds – was about as convincing as defending Colston’s slave-running for reasons of free-trade.
And then there’s The Guardian. “A long time in going,” the paper editorialized the statue’s toppling, in line with their full-throated support for importing the Black Lives Matter protests to Britain.
Contrast that decisiveness with the same outlet’s mealy-mouthed condemnation of the anti-Semitism that plagued Corbynite Labour.
Corbyn’s “obdurate handling of the antisemitism crisis has disrupted the message of hope. The pain and hurt within the Jewish community, and the damage to Labour, are undeniable and shaming,” admitted the paper in its endorsement days before the election, “yet Labour remains indispensable to progressive politics.”
Let’s be clear. The unease felt in the Jewish community at the prospect of a Corbyn victory was real, and crossed communal lines. One survey showed that 87% of Jewish people considered Corbyn anti-Semitic. The prospect of a Labour victory drew an unprecedented intervention from the normally apolitical chief rabbi and establishment organizations.
The Jewish community’s message couldn’t have been more explicit: for the first time in generations, we’re scared.
And yet the Corbyn juggernaut went on, supported by a Labour Party for whom Remain and a Green New Deal were more important than a scared Jewish community, and 73% of whose members per a Lord Ashcroft poll, thought that anti-Semitism was exaggerated.
As someone who experienced sometimes violent anti-Semitism in Britain growing up, I have only sympathy for other minorities who continue to suffer from racism. That has to end.
But for those on the left who stood by as the Jewish community endured a hostile Labour, I have only one message.
If you supported Jeremy Corbyn, you should be ashamed to talk about racism.
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