Corbyn campaign video dismissing antisemitism accusations is withdrawn


A video produced by Jeremy Corbyn's leadership campaign team which dismissed concerns over antisemitic abuse has been withdrawn after an angry response from British Jews.

The video was taken off YouTube on Wednesday night after Gillian Merron, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, spoke to Jon Lansman, chair of Momentum's steering committee, about its contents. Mr Lansman is said to have apologised to her, promising that it would be withdrawn and a public apology issued.

To date, no such statement or apology has been issued. The video, "Five questions Corbyn supporters are tired of hearing", can still be viewed on Jeremy Corbyn's Facebook page.

It features supporters of the Labour leader explaining why they are backing him. The final question asks: "Do you promote antisemitism?" One of the contributors is shown throwing a piece of paper, with the question apparently on it, to the floor. The man says: "So that's gone as well."

Ms Merron said that the removal of the video was "the right result". She said: "The dismissive video was a 'slap in the face' for the Jewish community. Having spoken directly to campaign director Jon Lansman, the Jeremy for Labour campaign now recognises the inappropriate message conveyed and has committed to remove the video and apologise. This is the right result.

"It has been a bruising year for relations between the Labour Party and the Jewish community. Whatever the result of the leadership election on Saturday, we will continue to demand that antisemitism is opposed across our politics with the requisite force and conviction."

The video also features Faduma Hassan, an organiser at the hard-left Momentum group, saying: "Obviously there are people in society that are antisemitic and we should be doing everything to educate and eradicate those kind of things. I certainly wouldn't stand for antisemitism if I saw it anywhere, whether it was in the Labour Party or anywhere else."

It moves on to show David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist group telling a female campaigner: "It was the Conservative government in the 1930s that stopped a large number of refugees from Austria and Germany, Jewish refugees, coming into Britain. It was the Conservative supporting press who were pushing the headlines at that time about Jewish refugees pouring into the country, taking your jobs, taking your homes."

No explanation is provided as to the relevance of his comments to Labour's current antisemitism crisis. A third Corbyn supporter then adds: "When you actually boil it all down, what they mean is 'we're losing the political argument and we've got nothing to fight back with other than these accusations'."

The video concludes with the clip of the man throwing the paper over his shoulder.

Jonathan Arkush, Board of Deputies president, said in a statement before the video was pulled from YouTube: "Does Jeremy Corbyn believe, as he has said publicly many times recently, that the Labour Party will do everything it can to expunge antisemitism from the Labour Party? Or does he agree with the man in his own officially endorsed campaign video that the accusations of antisemitism are really only his detractors 'losing the political argument' who have 'nothing to come back with other than those accusations'?

"Or with the man who throws away a piece of paper symbolising the issue? This looks like a slap in the face to Jews.

"Mr Corbyn needs to answer these questions urgently so we know whether he really is a committed anti-racist or whether, astonishingly, he endorses a sentiment that gives a free pass to racism against Jews."

There was anger on social media. Dave Rich, the Community Security Trust's deputy communications director, tweeted: "Message to Corbyn supporters: tell Jews who complain about antisemitism they have 'lost the argument' & throw their complaint on the floor."

Lahav Harkov, a Jerusalem Post journalist, wrote: "If they're tired of hearing ABOUT antisemitism, think how tired Jews are of hearing the antisemitism itself."

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said the video had been produced by his campaign team and not his official office. He declined to say anymore.

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