Corbyn in the crosshairs

Jeremy Corbyn (still looking likely to be the surprise choice as leader of the British Labour Party) has some explaining to do. The Jewish Chronicle puts him in the crosshairs with the following:

The key questions Jeremy Corbyn must answer

It now seems a near certainty that Jeremy Corbyn will become leader of the Labour Party in just under a month.

How the Labour Party chooses its leader, and who it chooses, is its own business. But as Leader of the Opposition, Mr Corbyn will hold a formal constitutional role, and will hold a hope — however realistic or otherwise — of becoming Prime Minister.

The JC rarely claims to speak for anyone other than ourselves. We are just a newspaper. But in this rare instance we are certain that we speak for the vast majority of British Jews in expressing deep foreboding at the prospect of Mr Corbyn’s election as Labour leader.

Because, although there is no direct evidence that he has an issue himself with Jews, there is overwhelming evidence of his association with, support for — and even in one case, alleged funding of — Holocaust deniers, terrorists and some outright antisemites.

If Mr Corbyn is not to be regarded from the day of his election as an enemy of Britain’s Jewish community, he has a number of questions which he must answer in full and immediately. The JC asked him earlier this week to respond. No response has been forthcoming.

It’s too early to conclude much. However, unless the mainstream media pick up on this particular challenge, Corbyn’s team will ignore it, and hope it goes away. (It won’t – at least for the majority of the Jewish community there.) Either that, or there will be a less than comprehensive answer, mentioning his track record in Parliament (or some such other diversionary nonsense) as being the true mark of the man.

Here are the questions:

1. Did you donate, as alleged by its founder, to Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR), a group that publishes open antisemtism, run by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen — an organisation so extreme that even the Palestine Solidarity Campaign refuses to associate with it?

2. Have you, as Mr Eisen claims, regularly attended DYR’s annual conference?

3. Why have you accepted an invitation to appear at a conference on August 22 alongside Carlos Latuff, the notorious anti-Semitic cartoonist?

4. Why did you write to the Church of England authorities to defend Rev Stephen Sizer, a vicar banned from social media because of his habit of posting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, telling them that Rev Sizer was “under attack” because he had “dared to speak out over Zionism”?

5. Why do you associate with Hamas and Hezbollah and refer to them as your “friends”?

This Hamas and Hezbollah one is a bit of an own goal for the media. They should have more artfully challenged him on this when they had the chance. (See here.)

6. Why have you failed to condemn the anti-Semitic posters and banners that dominate the annual Al-Quds Day rally, sponsored by the Stop The War Coalition, which you chair?

7. Why did you describe Raead Salah, a man convicted of the blood libel, as an ‘honoured citizen’?

It could have been worse: he could have called him his friend…

It is difficult not to see a pattern in Mr Corbyn’s associations, and his refusal at any point to answer the fears of the Jewish community raised by these associations.

In a nation where, thank heavens, racism and extremism are now regarded as beyond the pale, it is little short of astonishing that a man who chooses to associate with racists and extremists is about to become leader of one of our two main parties and could conceivably become Prime Minister.

If JC (ahem) becomes the leader, perhaps the more realistic (or best) expectation is that he will take steps to mend fences with the Jewish community, letting his past (at least in his eyes) fade into the darkened corridors of history. But the more chilling scenario is that he says nothing, becomes leader, and does nothing about the situation. In that case, the boats will have been well and truly burned. In such a case, I fervently hope that predictions of his leadership putting the party into a permanent state of being unelectable, prove to be correct.