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The JC Leader: Dayenu - again

The Jewish Chronicle Leader column, March 30th, 2018

    It was, at the same time, both entirely appropriate and inappropriate.

    Just four nights before the Seder, more than 1,500 Jews and non-Jews gathered in Parliament Square to say the word we all say when gathered at that table: Dayenu!

    Appropriately, the message for Jeremy Corbyn was that we have had enough. Of the obfuscation. Of the siding with antisemites over the victims of antisemitism. Of the dissembling. But how could such a message be other than entirely inappropriate? How could it be other than shaming for the Labour Party that our community was so angry — and, in many cases, afraid — that we felt we had to gather and chant “enough”?

    Mr Corbyn responded — finally, in his fourth statement on his endorsement of an antisemitic mural — with some words about his commitment to tackling antisemitism. But no one will believe a word until he has shown evidence of this. For two-and-a-half years he has — to put it at its least — indulged the party’s antisemites.  He has said he would like to meet the Board of Deputies and the JLC. But unless Mr Corbyn shows he is genuine, such a meeting would serve no purpose beyond his own PR.

    Both the Board and the JLC have shown exemplary leadership over the past few days, accurately assessing the mood of the community and responding to that with a perfecly written open letter to Mr Corbyn and a rally that could hardly have been more impressive. They must now show a similarly deft touch in their response to Mr Corbyn.

    That means demanding the evidence of his good faith before any meeting is possible. One such step would be for Mr Corbyn to make clear that the likes of Jewish Voice for Labour, a fringe group that represents a minuscule section of the community,  in no way speak for him.

    Do not hold your breath.

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