'Corbyn's campaign ad is slap in the face to Jews'

UK Labour leader's campaign video dismissing claims of anti-Semitism within party slammed amid party primary race.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (L)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (L)

A campaign video released by UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ahead of his party’s internal leadership election has reignited controversy over his handling of anti-Semitic scandals involving party members.

Dogged by criticism of his response to anti-Semitic statements by Labour parliament members, local councilors and activists, including Bradford West MP Naz Shah, Corbyn faced a backlash within the party, sparking mass resignations from the Shadow Cabinet, and ultimately leading to internal leadership elections.

Corbyn, a long-time anti-Israel activist, has his own history of flamboyant rhetoric, calling Israeli leaders “criminals” and calling for their banning from the UK. He also once drew comparisons between Israel and the ISIS terror group.

Hoping to turn a new leaf with the Jewish community, however, Corbyn’s election team produced a video addressing the issue of anti-Semitism within the Labour party.

The video features interviews with party activists, asking them which five questions they most hate to be asked. The final question “Do you promote anti-Semitism?”, was intended to broach the sensitive subject.

Instead, however, the video does little to address Labour’s own scandals involving anti-Semitism, with three of the four activists simply dismissing the issue.

“Obviously there are people in society that are anti-Semitic,” said the first interviewee, who offered a generic response to the question without touching upon the Labour party’s scandals.

A second activist – a member of the Jewish Socialists – pivoted, responding to the question by saying that “It was a Conservative government in the 1930s that stopped…Jewish refugees” fleeing oppression in Nazi Germany.

The third interviewee was even more dismissive, suggesting criticism of anti-Semitism within Labour was little more than a political ploy to distract from legitimate issues.

“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 final party activist simply tosses the question, written on a small strip of paper, saying “That’s gone as well.”

A backlash against the video was not long in coming.

Gillian Merron, Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, slammed the video, calling its attitude towards anti-Semitism “a slap in the face.”

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

Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush questioned Corbyn’s sincerity in his pledge to combat anti-Jewish bias following the video’s release.

"Does Jeremy Corbyn believe, as he has said publicly many times recently, that the Labour Party will do everything it can to expunge anti-Semitism 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'?”