The Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council, the two main organisations that represent the Jewish community in Britain, have described their meeting with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday as “a disappointing missed opportunity regarding the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party”
They pointed out that Corbyn failed to agree with any of the proposals the Jewish community put to him.
A statement from BoD and JLC said:
“We are disappointed that Mr Corbyn’s proposals fell short of the minimum level of action which our letter suggested.
“In particular, they did not agree in the meeting with our proposals that there should be a fixed timetable to deal with antisemitism cases; that they should expedite the long-standing cases involving Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker; that no MP should share a platform with somebody expelled or suspended for antisemitism; that they adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism with all its examples and clauses; that there should be transparent oversight of their disciplinary process.”
It is clear to see why Corbyn has not accepted these proposals. Because if he did, he would be labelling himself as an anti-Semite.
If he had accepted these proposals he would be admitting anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, something Corbyn does not agree with.
In a letter published by the Evening Standard on Monday, Jeremy Corbyn gave a lengthy explanation of how much he stood against anti-Semitism and that he would not allow racism in his party. However, in his letter he also said the following, “Anti-Zionism is not in itself anti-Semitic and many Jews themselves are not Zionists.”
Jeremy Corbyn is wrong. Anti-Zionism IS anti-Semitic.
Simon Johnson of the JLC and attended the meeting explained that refusal of the definition on antisemitism revealed an “ideological block” when “anti-Zionism becomes antisemitism”.
He said, “The meetings were indeed held in a positive and convivial spirit, apart from when we discussed one issue. When we asked them to adopt and promote the IHRA Definition on antisemitism, with all its examples. That part of the discussion was decidedly tense. That is because it revealed their ideological block when anti-Zionism becomes antisemitism. It was what we had said in our very first letter just before the #EnoughisEnough demonstration.”
The IHRC Definition on antisemitism, which the government has adopted, states that anti-Semitism includes “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.”
Jeremy Corbyn has previously referred to the Balfour Declaration, the document that led to the creation of the State of Israel, as “infamous” and a “mistake”.
Corbyn is also part of groups who spout the “Zionism is racism” rhetoric. This is again anti-Semitic as part of the government’s adopted definition of anti-Semitism.
If this definition was applied to Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker, who are currently suspended from the Labour party, then they would indeed be found to be anti-Semitic.
Ken Livingstone made the outrageous claim that “Hitler supported Zionism”. Hitler is the person who killed more Jews than anyone else in history, whilst Zionism is the belief in Israel as the Jewish collectivity. You cannot say that Hitler was supporting the Jews when he killed 6 million of them. That is just as anti-Semitic as someone who denies the Holocaust.
Unfortunately, until Corbyn sees anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism, there will continue to be this problem of anti-Semitism in the party.