The U.K.'s Jewish Chronicle ran a front page editorial excoriating Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and calling on the British public to reject his anti-Semitism in next month's parliamentary election.
"To all our fellow British citizens. This front page is addressed not to our usual readers — but to those who would not normally read the Jewish Chronicle. In other words, to non-Jews," the editorial was headlined.
The editorial opened by stating that 87 percent of U.K. Jews consider Corbyn to be an anti-Semite. It went on: "[H]ow can the racist views of a party leader [Corbyn] — and the deep fear he inspires among an ethnic minority — not be among the most fundamental of issues [for U.K. voters]?"
The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, tweeted a photo of the editorial with the caption: "Incredibly powerful message and appalling that any community in our country has been forced to feel like this."
An outgoing parliamentarian who was once a member of the Labour Party’s inner circle joined in criticism of Corbyn on Thursday, urging the public to vote for Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the upcoming election, saying that Corbyn is "unfit" to lead the country.
Ian Austin, one of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s closest allies, told the BBC that Labour has been poisoned by "anti-Jewish racism" under Corbyn’s leadership. Austin left the party in February over its handling of anti-Semitism.
"There’s only two people who can be prime minister on December 13 — Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson," Austin told the BBC. "And I think Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to lead our country."
The startling interview came a day after deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, who often clashed with Corbyn, announced he was stepping down. The two actions underscore the unease of many Labour lawmakers over Corbyn’s far-left views and his ambivalence over Britain’s ties to the European Union.
Watson acknowledged his "political differences" with Corbyn in a resignation letter, but said the decision was personal rather than political. But his departure is likely to embolden others who have been uneasy with Corbyn’s leadership since he took charge of the party in 2015, moving it further to the left and away from the center ground staked out by former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Before he won the party leadership, Corbyn was a longtime backbench lawmaker who championed far leftist causes and the grievances of groups such as the Irish Republican Army, Hamas and Hezbollah.
"I think he’s spent his entire time in politics working with and defending all sorts of people, extremists and in some cases anti-Semites and terrorists," Austin said.
"In the end, I don’t think he’s a patriot. I don’t think he loves his country. I think he always picks our country’s enemies, whether it’s the IRA during the Troubles or describing Hamas and Hezbollah as his friends, or parroting [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s propaganda when the Russians send hitmen to murder people on the streets of Britain."
Labour was quick to hit back. Rebecca Long-Bailey, the party’s business spokeswoman, told the BBC that Corbyn is a patriot and the party has stepped up efforts to root out anti-Semitism.
"Certainly voting for Boris Johnson if you are a Labour voter and you want to protect your community is absolutely absurd and it makes no sense at all," she said.
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