Corbyn’s Inescapable Shame

BY JAMIE FOSTER

Jewish MPs and delegates to the Labour conference next month will be offered bodyguards to protect them from harassment and intimidation by left wingers. The Jewish Labour Movement is said to have had talks with the Community Security Trust, a charity that provides security to Jews targeted with antisemitism. MPs who have been targeted in the past for speaking up against antisemitism in the Labour Party are particularly of concern. This news comes out shortly after a video emerged of Jeremy Corbyn making comments about Zionists not understanding irony and needing a lesson from history.

Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger tweeted that Corbyn’s comments made her feel unwelcome in her own party adding that she didn’t need any lessons in irony or history.

Something has gone badly wrong in the Labour Party to have shades of the 1930s creeping around the edges. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is undoubtedly to blame. It doesn’t matter how many times he says the Labour Party intends to tackle antisemitism, his own past stands as encouragement to those who practise it. He has made his bed by sharing platforms with anti-Semites and by tolerating antisemitism within his own party and now he must live with the consequences. Jewish Labour MPs have to come to terms with the fact that Jewish people are not going to vote Labour as long as Corbyn leads the party. Right thinking people are also going to have a problem supporting a party that allows itself to indulge in antisemitism.

What can Corbyn do?

He has already tried the whitewash Chakrabati inquiry. That didn’t work. He can try cracking down on incidents of antisemitism as they arise. The problem with that is that the latest incidents are old videos of him saying antisemitic things. It looks like there is nowhere for him to go that will allow him to get a handle on things. The Left are furious because they see this as an attack on Corbyn’s leadership rather than a problem of antisemitism at all. For the Left everything they say is right so there can be nothing wrong with antisemitism if they have said it. Every time Corbyn tries to take steps to deal with antisemitism, more examples of it pop up as a response. The only thing that Corbyn could really do to tackle antisemitism would be to fall on his own sword and remove the hard-left sector of the Party from leadership. As long as he remains, the problem remains. It is not as if the media will run out of old videos of him saying stupid things in the company of extremists.

Corbyn is not likely to fall on his own sword anytime soon so in the meantime Jewish people have yet again got to put up with the evil of antisemitism. It seems entirely wrong that a group within our society should be targeted with so much hatred over the centuries. Surely, we have reached a point in our history where they could be left alone to get on with their lives in peace? It is unthinkable that an MP should be the target of hostility and aggression simply because they are Jewish. What is there for Jewish Labour MPs caught up in this nightmare to do? They have been elected to serve their constituents, so they can’t simply walk away nor should they have to. Every time they speak up against antisemitism they are subject to further attacks from the Left of the party. If they take on the leadership, they are subject to censure. They are stuck with having to put up with harassment and intimidation from within the ranks of their own party just for doing their jobs and being who they are. It is an impossible situation.

As the Labour Party Conference approaches it only stands to highlight the issue. No doubt some frustrated left wingers will say or do something stupid as the pressure mounts. Corbyn will make a hash of dealing with it as he always does, and the left will see it as tacit encouragement of their position. It is a poison that is beyond leeching, so now we have the prospect of Jewish MPs needing bodyguards to attend their own conference. What it is to be a member of the modern Labour Party.

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