Jeremy Corbyn’s False Empathy on Holocaust Memorial Day
Last week, people gathered across the United Kingdom to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who joined 200 Holocaust survivors at a service in Westminster, shared a photo of himself on social media signing the Holocaust Educational Trust’s book of commitment, saying: “Let us never allow antisemitism or any other form of racism to disfigure our society.”
In that moment, it felt as if the concept of mockery had been invented only to describe the absurdity of Corbyn’s PR stunt. His participation in the service was as offensive as it was hurtful to victims of anti-Jewish discrimination. Here was a man pretending to fight a vicious disease that he himself has helped to spread.
No other form of racism has disfigured the modern mainstream political landscape in Britain as has the rise of Corbynism — an ideology rooted in classic pre-war antisemitic language. Nurtured by Corbyn’s virulent anti-Western and, by extension, anti-Israel sentiments, this ideology has created a climate in which legitimate criticism of Israel has morphed into antisemitism, something no other nation endures.
The purpose of Holocaust Memorial Day is twofold: to serve as a date for official commemoration of the victims of the Nazi regime, and to promote Holocaust education so that hatred of Jews can never again gain a foothold in our societies.
It is clear, however, that Corbyn is part of the problem, not the solution. Corbyn himself has sought to dilute the significance of adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism by having the Labour Party’s National Committee approve a statement declaring that it should not “be regarded as anti-Semitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist.” His proposal found no support and was not voted on.
If you need more evidence for Corbyn’s deeply problematic views, look no further than his long record of proximity to individuals, groups, and regimes that rival the Nazis in their hatred of Jews.
Take the fact that Corbyn once called members of Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group that preaches the genocide of the Jewish people, his “friends.” He marched with pro-Hezbollah folks during Al Quds day in London. He invited Palestinian hate preacher Raed Salah to tea in parliament and described him as “a very honored citizen” — despite that fact that Salah was charged with inciting anti-Jewish racism by propagating the blood libel. Corbyn has also entertained Holocaust deniers and enriched himself with money from the Iranian regime.
The list goes on. Yet in all those years that Corbyn socialized with anti-Jewish thugs and murderous regimes — and spoke of them glowingly in the name of advancing peace — he never sat down with the leaders of Israel or visited the Jewish state.
“Driving antisemitism out of the party for good, and rebuilding that trust, are our priorities,” Corbyn wrote in an op-ed published in The Guardian in August 2018. Since he made those comments, however, several individuals have been readmitted to the Labour Party who were suspended over antisemitism.
Earlier this month, the party readmitted Scottish councilor Mary Bain Lockhart, who suggested that a joint editorial by three Jewish newspapers against rising antisemitism in the Labour Party was orchestrated by the Mossad — Israel’s secret intelligence service — to discredit Corbyn’s leadership.
In fact, the Labour Party marked Holocaust Memorial Day by readmitting a former member of parliament, Jim Sheridan, who was suspended last year for posting on social media that he no longer had “respect and empathy” for the Jewish community.
The truth is that Labour has been wracked with one antisemitic scandal after another. Yet the leadership has no intention of confronting the wave of hatred that has swept across a party with a proud and long-standing record of fighting racism. The response is always the same: Whitewash the problem. Dismiss allegations as smears. Blame the victims. And shame those reporting on antisemitic incidents.
Jeremy Corbyn is fooling no one. He is no friend of the Jewish people.
Julie Lenarz is a Senior Fellow at The Israel Project and the Executive Director of the London-based Human Security Centre. She tweets @MsJulieLenarz.