Se­nior rabbi hosts Cor­byn for Fri­day-night din­ner

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEE HARPIN, ROSA DO­HERTY

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.”


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