Senior rabbi hosts Corbyn for Friday-night dinner
THE CHIEF executive of Liberal Judaism hosted Jeremy Corbyn and the cochair of the Jewish Voice For Labour for a Friday-night dinner.
Also at the dinner, which took place last month, was an Israeli conflict resolution specialist and Mr Corbyn and Jenny Manson’s respective partners.
News of the occasion is likely to spark concern among those in the Jewish community who still advocate a hard line against Mr Corbyn’s party and accuse him of failing to deal with antisemitism within it.
Rabbi Danny Rich, who is also a Labour councillor, has publicly appealed for British Jews to find a way to work with Mr Corbyn, saying there is a “danger” of communal leaders “being accused of only desiring regime change in the Labour Party — and there is not a cat in hell’s chance of that happening”.
He also described Ms Manson as “a very decent woman” but stressed he did not support her bid to become Labour’s candidate for the Finchley and Golders Green seat.
It is understood that Rabbi Rich, who is a member of the Jewish Labour Movement, did not inform the organisation of his invitation to Mr Corbyn and Ms “We must work with Labour”: Rich
Manson in advance. Asked about the Shabbat dinner, Ms Manson told the JC: “I am not going to comment on any of my personal engagements.”
A source close to the Labour leader confirmed the dinner took place but said it was a personal rather than official engagement for Mr Corbyn.
Rabbi Rich said: “Who I invite to my Shabbat dinner is a private matter.”
In an interview with the Jewish News last week, he said there was “an obligation for the Jewish community to work very closely with the Labour leadership.
“The situation today is very volatile, and working closely with those who might form the next government does not mean that when one sees antisemitism, it shouldn’t be called out,” he said.
He called the lack of communication between Labour and the Jewish community “not helpful”.
Rabbi Rich added: “I want Corbyn to meet religious Jews who have a relationship with Israel.
“I would like Labour to appreciate more that there are Jews who share many aspirations of the Labour Party, compatible with their support for the state of Israel.
“The community needs to find a way of dealing with Labour — but nobody is going to do it where we can’t have a civilised conversation.”
Jon Lansman, the Momentum founder and close ally of Mr Corbyn, praised Rabbi Rich’s intervention.
But in a scathing statement, former Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush said: “I can’t follow Rabbi Danny Rich.
“More than six months ago the Board and the JLC set out simple basic steps that Labour needed to take to restore the community’s trust. Labour signally failed to take them, indeed matters have got worse.”