Rabbi Sacks: Labour anti-Semitism an existential threat to Jews

Former Chief Rabbi of Britain says UK Jews may leave country if Labour's Jeremy Corbyn becomes PM, says anti-Semitism 'existential threat'.

David Rosenberg,

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
REUTERS

Former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks doubled down on his attack on the UK Labour Party, warning Sunday that the rise of party chief Jeremy Corbyn threatened the future of the Jewish community in Britain.

Last week, Rabbi Sacks excoriated Corbyn in an interview with the New Statesman, calling the Labour Party leader an “anti-Semite”, following a string of scandals involving allegations of anti-Semitism.

“We have an anti-Semite as the leader of the Labour Party and her majesty’s opposition. That is why Jews feel so threatened by Mr. Corbyn and those who support him.”

Labour rejected the accusation, calling Rabbi Sacks’ comments “absurd and offensive”.

“This comparison with the race-baiting Enoch Powell is absurd and offensive. Jeremy Corbyn described a particular group of pro-Israel activists as Zionists, in the accurate political sense, not as a synonym or code for Jewish people,” a spokesperson for Labour said last Wednesday.

But on Sunday, Rabbi Sacks reiterated his claims, warning that if Jeremy Corbyn were ever to take the premiership, much of the British Jewish community would feel compelled to leave the country.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, said that Corbyn and his backers were in danger of “of engulfing Britain in the kind of flames of hatred that have reappeared throughout Europe.”

"There is danger that Jeremy Corbyn may one day be prime minister,” continued Rabbi Sacks, “and I'm afraid that until he expresses clear remorse for what he has said and what his party has done to its Jewish sympathizers as well as its Jewish MPs, then he is as great a danger as Enoch Powell was,” referring to the controversial Conservative MP whose 1968 anti-immigration “Rivers of Blood” speech against the 1968 Race Relations Bill led to his removal as Shadow Secretary of Defence.

Rabbi Sacks said that the possibility of a Corbyn government amounted to nothing less than an “existential threat” to the British Jewish community.

“Jews have been in Britain since 1656 - I know of no other occasion in these 362 years when Jews, the majority of our community, are worrying, ‘Is this country safe to bring up our children?’”

“Now this is very, very worrying and there is only one word for this, that is anti-Semitism. When people hear the kind of language that’s been coming out of Labour, they cannot but feel an existential threat.”

The Labour Party has been embroiled in a seemingly unending string of controversies revolving around accusations of anti-Semitism in recent months.

Veteran Labour lawmaker, MP Frank Field, resigned from the Labour Party’s parliamentary caucus, accusing the party’s leadership of becoming a “force for anti-Semitism”.

Last week, it was revealed that in 2010, Corbyn had claimed that Israeli officials dictated the speeches made by British MPs.

In August, the Daily Mail published photos of the Labour leader at a cemetery in Tunisia holding a wreath near the graves of some of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorists who were responsible for the massacre of the 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Days later, a picture emerged of Corbyn apparently making a salute linked to the Muslim Brotherhood organization.

That week, the Times of London published a picture of Corbyn meeting with the leader-in-exile of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, only weeks before its members carried out an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue in which six people were murdered.

Two weeks ago, it was revealed that Corbyn attended a conference with a convicted Hamas leader who was jailed in Israel for his role in orchestrating a string of terrorist attacks that killed more than 100 people between 2001 and 2002.

Later, he came under fire after the Daily Mail published a clip of Corbyn accusing a group of Zionists of having “no sense of English irony”, despite “having lived in this country for a very long time”.


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