Jeremy Corbyn responds to the JC’s seven questions
Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn has responded to the seven questions the JC posed last week about his links with Holocaust deniers and antisemites.
The JC’s coverage prompted a widespread debate about the company Mr Corbyn keeps.
Here are his answers, sent from his office, in full:
Q1 Did you donate, as alleged by its founder, to Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR), an antisemitic group run by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen?
Jeremy has no recollection whatsoever of making a donation at all to Deir Yassin Remembered.
Q2 Have you, as Mr Eisen claims, regularly attended DYR’s annual conference?
No, he does not regularly attend DYR’s annual conference.
Jeremy believes that Mr Eisen’s position on the Holocaust is wrong and reprehensible. Holocaust denial is vile and wrong: the Holocaust was the most vile part of our history. The Jewish people killed by the Nazi Holocaust were the people who suffered the most in the 20th century.
He did attend DYR events in the past but no longer does so. DYR was founded in the late 1990s. It is worth noting that in the early stages of DYR’s existence it attracted broad support and only later did Mr Eisen’s views on the Holocaust become apparent.
Jeremy is deeply moved by the massacre of Deir Yassin and feels it should be remembered, however.
Q3 Why have you accepted an invitation to appear at a conference on 22nd August alongside Carlos Latuff, the antisemitic cartoonist?
Last week's JC front page with the seven questions
Jeremy Corbyn is not speaking at this event.
Q4 Why did you write to the Church of England authorities to defend Rev Stephen Sizer, a vicar banned from social media because of his habit of posting antisemitic conspiracy theories, telling them that Rev Sizer was “under attack” because he had “dared to speak out over Zionism”?
You are conflating two issues. Mr Corbyn wrote to the Church authorities two years before the 9/11 ‘conspiracy’ post about a different matter altogether. At this point Mr Sizer was involved in a dispute about his involvement in Middle East political issues and Mr Corbyn supported his right to do so. It was much later that Mr Sizer was found to have posted the link to the 9/11 article and then disciplined by the Church. he made no intervention on his behalf or in his support on that question. Neither was he asked to.
Mr Corbyn wholly rejects the conspiracy theory and ‘truther’ theories about the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001, which are distressing to the families and friends of those lost and hurt on that day and very often involve antisemitic views to which he has - and always will be - opposed.
Q5 Why do you associate with Hamas and Hezbollah and refer to them as your “friends”?
The term ‘friends’ was used purely as diplomatic language in the context of dialogue, not an endorsement of a particular set of views. In the difficult quest of establishing a peace, it is common for the term “friend” to be used as part of the process. “Friend” in this case becomes a term of diplomacy as an aid to dialogue between disparate groups rather than a description of a relationship or an endorsement of a set of views.
Jeremy has met many people with whom he profoundly disagrees, in order to try to promote a peace process. He has supported and continues to support peace and reconciliation processes in South Africa, Latin and Central America, Ireland and of course in the Middle East. He believes it is necessary to speak to people with whom there is disagreement – merely talking to people who already agree won't bring about a settlement.
Q6 Why have you consistently failed to condemn the antisemitic posters and banners that dominate the annual Al-Quds Day rally, sponsored by the Stop The War Coalition, which you chair?
Jeremy unequivocally, unreservedly and absolutely opposes and condemns all antisemitic language, whether on banners and posters or anywhere else.
Q7 Why did you describe Raed Salah, a man convicted of the blood libel, as an ‘honoured citizen’?
The blood libel is one of the most unpleasant anti-Semitic slurs. Jeremy wholly rejects and condemns the blood libel against the Jewish people.
The language used by Jeremy was merely in a diplomatic context – a term of diplomacy as an aid to dialogue rather than a description of a relationship or an endorsement of a set of views. The context was the ongoing case involving Raed Salah’s presence in the UK: he had been due to come to the UK to address MPs and others as a prominent representative of Palestinian citizens of Israel – he had been three times elected Mayor of Umm al-Fahm. He travelled to and entered the UK in the normal way, as he had done a number of times before. Teresa May sanctioned his arrest and detention. His arrest was the subject of considerable controversy, and was objected to by Jews for Justice for Palestinians amongst others: his appeal against the attempt to deport him succeeded on all grounds.
In addition a spokesperson for Mr Corbyn responded to a blog by former Tory MP Louise Mensch which claimed that he had links to former Hizbollah fighter Dyou Abou Jahjah:
"This is an attempt to Jeremy smear by association. The views expressed here are abhorrent. If they are indeed those of Dyou Abou Jahjah there is no suggestion he has said them in Jeremy's hearing. During the course of his work to forward peace processes between disparate groups Jeremy has met many people with views he finds reprehensible. But he believes in determined dialogue and persistent diplomacy as a means to bring about peace whether between neighbours, between peoples or between states. He is a prominent campaigner for human rights, quite without malice. He does not have an antisemitic bone in his body."