Communist spells out policy to compete in next year's mayoral election


You probably haven't heard of Jonathan Silberman, the 63-year-old factory worker who has signed up to compete in next year's mayoral election on behalf of the Communist League.

But the candidate for the left-wing party is under no illusion about his chances of winning. "I am completely realistic," he says.

Mr Silberman is the second Jewish candidate in the race, after Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith, and says "fighting Jew-hatred" is at the front of his campaign, which he describes as "a working-class campaign. I happen to think that fighting the rise of Jew-hatred is an important part of any working-class campaign today.

"I think the source of the rise of Jew hatred is down to slow-burning, capitalist oppression, and such is the nature of a capitalist society that, when it meets a crisis like it is in now, Jews will always be a target."

The trade unionist's family were involved in campaigning to get Jews into Britain in the 1930s.

As well as fighting against increasing antisemitism, Mr Silberman says he wants to see "a massive rise" in the minimum wage and would commit to building more homes, schools, and hospitals in the capital.

He has been critical of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's "inability" to challenge antisemitism and says that "the party was incapable of being transformed into a socialist organisation."

"Jeremy has failed to put himself at the leadership of fighting Jew hatred," says Mr Silberman, "and I disagree with him on a number of key issues. I believe his reference to Hamas and organisations like that as friends, whatever his explanation, is unacceptable.

"Hamas's idea that the task of Muslims should be to kill Jews is something their leaders echo today, it is not just a historical document.

"Their basic line is 'from the river to the sea' they are in favour of smashing the Israeli state.

"I'm opposed to the capitalist government of Israel but I'm equally opposed to the capitalist government of Britain or the United States, but I don't call for the destruction of Britain and I won't call for the destruction of Israel."

Mr Silberman also condemns the boycott of Israel and argues that the solution to peace in the Middle East was to get rid of capitalism.

He says: "The argument that it is an apartheid state is nonsense. There have been many manifestations of the working-class struggle where Jews and Arabs in Israel have fought side by side, from nurses to telecoms workers, and the defence of immigrants.

"Hamas's routine missile assaults on Jews [including] civilians closes down the space for that sort of stuff.

"There should be negotiations between the governments of Gaza, and the West Bank based on the recognition of Israel as it is today."

Mr Silberman stood, without success, for election in 2015 in Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

"My campaign is not oriented to any group of people," he says. "It is for the forging of a working-class leadership in the UK and internationally.

"I don't believe there is any London based solutions to the problems working people face here or anywhere. If I were elected mayor I will do things that I think should be done all around the country and internationally."

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