The depressing truth is that no one could have been in the least surprised that Tuesday’s meeting between community leaders and Jeremy Corbyn ended as it did — with the Labour leader offering not a single commitment to do anything of substance.
The meeting only happened because of a protest in Parliament Square prompted by Mr Corbyn’s defence of an antisemitic mural — hardly the most propitious background. But, if anything, the meeting turned out to be even worse than feared, with Mr Corbyn rowing back from the Labour NEC’s 2016 commitment to implement the full, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism and then refusing to agree that he had any role to play in demanding that Labour MPs do not share platforms with alleged antisemites.
This is desperate stuff. For a man who says that he wants to be a “militant ally” in the fight against antisemitism, his actions — or lack of them — are rather those of someone who does not give a damn about it.
Fine words in newspaper articles are meaningless. All that counts is action and, on this, the jury is no longer out. As things now stand, only one conclusion is possible.
Mr Corbyn will say what he thinks he needs to say to quell the storm over antisemitism. But when it comes to real action that might begin to tackle the problem — which would take him out of his political comfort zone and necessitate criticism of long-standing allies — he is not merely uninterested but hostile.
The message to the mainstream Jewish community is not so much loud and clear as contemptuous. It is that the Leader of the Labour Party, and the man who may well be our next Prime Minister, could not care less about antisemitism. It is difficult to see how, as a community, we can be anything other than worried by such a prospect.