Noted UK Historian: British Jews Questioning Future in Country Due to Corbyn Antisemitism Scandals
The antisemitism scandals that have rocked Britain’s Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn became its leader in 2015 have led many UK Jews to question their futures in the country, a noted London-based historian and author said in an interview published on Wednesday.
“I would not stay in England and see my children living in an environment hostile to Jewish people,” Simon Sebag Montefiore told The Times of London. “It might surprise non-Jewish people to know that virtually every Jewish family I know has discussed leaving Britain because of Labour’s antisemitism.”
“History,” the 53-year-old Montefiore noted, “has taught us not to take this vomiting of antisemitic venom lightly.”
“My mother’s family, the Jaffes, escaped the Russian pogroms in 1904 — so don’t underestimate how this feels,” he added. “It is agony for us: we love Britain, we are British and we are Jews, a tiny community here, and we don’t want to go anywhere. But history shows you always have to have suitcases psychologically packed.”
“The key lesson history teaches us is that as things darken, leave in time,” Montefiore pointed out. “Don’t just wait until it happens.”
Asked where he and his family would go if they were to leave the UK, Montefiore replied, “To Europe or New York or California.”
Montefiore sees a connection between the antisemitism of the Stalin era in the Soviet Union to that seen on the far-left in the UK today.
“I sense they regard the Jews not as a race and religion but as a hostile, exploitative, colonial-capitalist class — in fact exactly the antisemitic trope shown in the mural that Corbyn wanted to preserve,” Montefiore said. “Stalinism is a world I’ve spent years studying, but I never thought these ideas would come to blossom in Britain.”