Anathema to Jews

May 04, 2016 19:18

Eight and a half per cent. The figure is simply astonishing. Such are the depths to which Jeremy Corbyn has sunk the Labour Party in the eyes of Jewish voters that just 8.5 per cent of us say we would vote Labour if there was an election tomorrow. Jews comprise less than half a per cent of the population; in purely electoral terms we make little difference. But that should not matter.

To a decent leadership, it is difficult to see how this could be described as anything other than a crisis — the very word so adamantly rejected by Mr Corbyn over the past week. The evidence is clear that the Labour leader has made his party toxic for Jewish voters. Indeed, 38.5 per cent of us rank the party 5 out 5, the worst possible mark for the level of antisemitism among its members and elected representatives. For the official Opposition, this is not just a political problem; it goes to the heart of Labour’s fitness, not to say decency, as a potential government.

Something has to change. It is possible that the inquiry under Shami Chakrabarti may be that catalyst. Possible, but unlikely. Inquiries and reports do not change ideology and deeply held beliefs. Make no mistake — this crisis is a direct result of the world-view of Mr Corbyn and his allies. He is not an antisemite. But his politics embrace those who are.

It is concerning that the vice-chair of the inquiry, Prof David Feldman, is a signatory to Independent Jewish Voices, a fringe organisation whose response to the past week’s events was to describe reports of antisemitism within Labour as “baseless and disingenuous” politically motivated attempts to discredit Mr Corbyn and critics of the Israeli government. We should, of course, allow Prof Feldman to prove us wrong. But in his evidence last year to the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism he dismissed almost every accepted definition of antisemitism and would not even accept that most comparisons of Israel and the Nazis are antisemitic. But Prof Feldman is not the real issue here. The issue is that Labour is, under Jeremy Corbyn, anathema to Jewish voters.

May 04, 2016 19:18

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive