Silence not golden
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.