Jacobson accuses Corbyn of a show of contempt
The author said he was shocked that the Labour leader nominated Shami Chakrabarti for a peerage
HOWARD JACOBSON has suggested that Jeremy Corbyn gave Shami Chakrabarti a peerage to show his contempt for those who complained about antisemitism within Labour.
The author said: “I’m quite shocked by the giving of a peerage to Chakrabarti. I’m shocked by the speed of it and shocked by what that suggested about Corbyn”.
Holding up his middle finger to dis- play an obscene gesture, he said: “That was what Corbyn was saying to all of us who complained”.
The Man Boooker Prize-winning writer made the comment at Monday night’s premiere of Whitewashed, a documentary about last year’s Labour inquiry into “antisemitism and other forms of racism” headed by the subsequently ennobled Baroness Chakrabarti.
The book on which the documentary is based, which was also launched on Monday, includes 13 personal submissions made to the Chakrabarti inquiry, including Mr Jacobson’s.
Speaking to a capacity audience of over 250 people at the JW3 community centre in north-west London, he said: “We will never feel convinced that the problem of antisemitism is being dealt with if the people dealing with it often cannot talk about antisemitism without at the same time saying ‘and all other forms of racism’.
“Corbyn has never yet said antisemitism without also saying ‘all racism’ — as though he has to apologise to everybody else before he can apologise for antisemitism.”
Three Labour MPs — John Mann, Louise Ellman and Joan Ryan — were present for the screening of the documentary and the discussion afterwards, which took place between Mr Jacobson and academic David Hirsh, who narrated the film.
Mrs Ellman referred to anti-Zionism and antisemitism in Labour as “a great stain and a shame on the party. “There are many people in the Labour Party — both MPs and not MPs — who are fighting what is happening, who are disgusted and appalled at what is happening.”
Joan Ryan, the parliamentary chair of Labour Friends of Israel, described the Chakrabarti Report as “at the very best, a missed opportunity.
“We wanted to see in that report clear lines drawn, where criticism of Israel becomes antisemitic”, she said.
“And we did not get that, we were totally disappointed with that”.
Responding to an audience question, John Mann, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, described Mr Corbyn as “a man who claims he’s dedicated his entire life to racism — he’s not prepared to make a speech exclusively, explicitly, just on antisemitism, to outline why it is the worst of racisms, and why anyone who is an antisemite should be called by him, the Labour Party and everybody else, a racist.
He was adamant that he would remaining in the party. “We’re going nowhere”, Mr Mann said. “This isn’t Corbyn’s party, this is my party.
“We will play our role in combating antisemitism until we wipe it out of our party.
View the documentary at https://www. thejc.com/whitewashed