Si­lence not golden

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

Never has it been truer to ob­serve that what is not said can be just as re­veal­ing as what is. Labour Friends of Is­rael was ab­so­lutely right to in­vite Jeremy Cor­byn to speak at its Labour Party Con­fer­ence re­cep­tion. But it was con­temp­tu­ous of the Labour leader to de­liver an en­tire speech at the event with­out ever al­low­ing the word Is­rael to cross his lips. Con­temp­tu­ous to­wards Is­rael and, more wor­ry­ingly, con­temp­tu­ous to­wards a Jewish com­mu­nity that is in need of re­as­sur­ance that Mr Cor­byn un­der­stands why so much in his record is so deeply con­cern­ing. He could so easily have crit­i­cised the cur­rent Is­rael gov­ern­ment — a stance shared by many in the room — in the con­text, per­haps, of Is­rael’s so­cial­ist roots and the spirit of the kib­butz, or some such for­mu­la­tion. In­stead, he chose to jump through bizarre rhetor­i­cal hoops to be able not to ut­ter the word Is­rael, at a meet­ing specif­i­cally de­voted to Is­rael. It is dif­fi­cult not to con­clude, given his pre­vi­ous ref­er­ences to the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion as a “his­toric mis­take”, that Mr Cor­byn does not merely ob­ject to the cur­rent Is­raeli gov­ern­ment — he ob­jects to there be­ing an Is­rael to have a gov­ern­ment.

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