Britain’s Labour Party is rotting under Corbyn
If it’s hard to get your head around just how far the rot has spread in the three years since Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership of Britain’s Labour Party, this should give you an idea. Last week, Corbyn was complimented by David Duke, a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, applauded by Nick Griffin, the former leader of the neo-fascist British National Party, and condemned as a “racist anti- Semite” by Labour MP Mike Gapes, former chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee. Another useful illustration is the way Labour supporters have responded to revelations that Corbyn had participated in a ceremony in Tunis in 2014 commemorating Palestinian “martyrs,” including terrorists. Following the publication of photographs of the ceremony, a YouGov poll found only 13 per cent of Labour voters said the revelation caused them to think any less of Corbyn. Nearly half said their high regard for Corbyn was unchanged. Another 35 per cent said they didn’t know what to make of it or already had a rather dim view of him, but six per cent said the revelations caused them to think even better of Corbyn. After having the support of a majority of Jewish voters for decades, by 2015 Labour could count among its supporters only a fifth of them. Labour’s “legitimate criticisms of Israel” can’t account for the decline — Britain’s Jews are overwhelmingly critical of Israeli policy. Then in the lead-up to last year’s election, support for Corbyn’s Labour Party among British Jews was down to 13 per cent. The Corbynite vanguard in the party — calling itself Momentum — has recruited tens of thousands of new members, and clearly quite a few Jew baiters are among them. In March, the Board of Deputies of Britain’s Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council wrote a withering open letter that said: “Rightly or wrongly, Jeremy Corbyn is now the figurehead for an anti- Semitic political culture, based on obsessive hatred of Israel, conspiracy theories and fake news that is doing dreadful harm to British Jews and to the British Labour Party ... Jeremy Corbyn did not invent this form of politics, but he has had a lifetime within it, and now personifies its problems and dangers.” Corbyn’s callous inattention to the anti- Semitism was evident early on, especially when he dragged his feet on taking effective action against his longtime friend and supporter Ken Livingstone, the former mayor London. Livingstone repeatedly said Adolph Hitler should be remembered for “supporting Zionism” in the years before the Holocaust. Livingstone was suspended and eventually resigned, but Corbyn’s handling of his revisionism shone a spotlight on anti- Semitism seeping into the party. A Labour disciplinary committee is now bogged down with 300 complaints of anti- Semitic conduct and 70 active investigations. In a failed effort at damage control, Corbyn’s inner circle devised a code of conduct for party members modelled on the standard International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti- Semitism — but with telling amendments. Labour’s code would not explicitly prohibit Labour members from accusing Jews of being more loyal to Israel than to Britain, or comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, or dismissing Israel’s existence as racist. Corbyn’s past indiscretions are coming to wider public attention. In 2013, he insinuated Zionists (among whom, opinion surveys suggest, 90 per cent of British Jews would have to be included) aren’t quite British yet: “They don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony, either.” That’s an irony for you. The leader of the once defiantly anti-racist Labour Party regurgitating an antiSemitic trope that despite four centuries at the heart of British culture and political life, Jews don’t quite belong. This is a calumny that Labour would never expect any other minority group to put up with. Only the Jews are made to feel unwelcome. And that should tell you all you need to know about how far the rot has spread.