'Flippant' Corbyn Video on Labour and anti-Semitism Riles British Jews

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Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn ahead of his speech during the Durham Miners' Gala on the old Racecourse in Durham, England, July 9, 2016.
Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn ahead of his speech during the Durham Miners' Gala on the old Racecourse in Durham, England, July 9, 2016.Credit: Scott Heppell, AP

British Jews have been angered once again by Labour party head Jeremy Corbyn, who is running for reelection as party chairman. A video clip Corbyn posted on social media, which has since been withdrawn, supposedly answers "Five questions Corbyn supporters are tired of hearing." The last of the five is whether Corbyn promotes anti-Semitism.

The question is answered by a number of Corbyn supporters. “Obviously there are people in society that are anti-Semitic and we should be doing everything to educate and eradicate those kinds of things," says Faduma Hassan, an organizer at the hard-left Corbynista Momentum group, reports Britain's Jewish Chronicle. “I certainly wouldn’t stand for anti-Semitism if I saw it anywhere, whether it was in the Labour Party or anywhere else.”

Next David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist group says "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.”

British Jewish leaders and the rank and file responded in anger on social media and elsewhere for the way the video dismisses the issue in such a light-hearted and flippant manner.

Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, asked whether Corbyn and "the Labour Party will do everything it can to expunge anti-Semitism from the Labour Party?" reported the JC Online.  

At the end of the video, a Corbyn supporter takes the last slip of paper in the bowl holding the five questions and throws it away over his shoulder, as if all the questions have been answered adequately; after he said "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.’”

Arkush says of the man who throws away a piece of paper symbolizing the issue "This looks like a direct slap in the face to Jews."

Last weekend, Corbyn participated in a debate with his challenger for the party leadership, Owen Smith, in front of an audience of Jewish voters organized by the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel. While Smith said Corbyn was not an anti-Semite, little of what the Labour leader went over well with the audience.

The other questions include "Is Jeremy Corbyn unelectable?", "Are you a Trot[skyite]?",  "How many croissants have you eaten today?", and Do you hate Europe?"

Since Corbyn's election to head Labour in September, the party has seen a string of scandals involving alleged anti-Semitism, including at its Oxford University chapter, which is now the subject of a party probe. Last week, Labour activist Bob Campbell said on Facebook that the ISIS terrorist group is run by Israel. He was reported to have been suspended as a party member, though he has denied this indeed occurred.

Separately, a Labour lawmaker in Parliament, Vicki Kirby, was suspended  after it was revealed she suggested in a series of social media posts saying that Adolf Hitler might be a “Zionist god” and Jews have “big noses,” and asking why ISIS was not attacking Israel.

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