Jewish Groups, MPs Denounce UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn After Revelation He Endorsed Antisemitic Book
Controversial UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn is embroiled in another antisemitism scandal after it was revealed that he wrote the forward to an antisemitic book in 2011.
The book in question was a reissue of J.A. Hobson’s 1902 Imperialism: A Study. In an article in the Times, it was revealed that Hobson theorized that the forces behind imperialism were “men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them many centuries of financial experience,” who were “in a unique position to control the policy of nations.”
Hobson also asked, “Does anyone seriously suppose that a great war could be undertaken by any European State, or a great State loan subscribed, if the house of Rothschild and its connections set their face against it?”
The “house of Rothschild” refers to the Jewish banking family that has long been the object of numerous antisemitic conspiracy theories.
In the forward, Corbyn called the book a “great tome” that was “brilliant, and very controversial at the time.” He also praised Hobson’s analysis of the “pressures” that led to imperialism, a possible oblique reference to Hobson’s antisemitic conspiracy theory.
Corbyn elaborated by calling Hobson’s analysis “correct and prescient” in regard to “the commercial interests that fuel the role of the popular press with tales of imperial might.”
Reacting to the scandal, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, called Hobson’s book “pure and unequivocal racism,” and declared “there can be no apology for it.”
Addressing Corbyn directly, Zyle said, “In just over a year, we learned that you opposed the removal of a mural by Mear One that contained obvious antisemitic tropes; that you described a group of British Jews as having ‘no sense of irony’ despite ‘having lived in this country for a very long time’; that you were present — but apparently not involved — in a wreath-laying ceremony for terrorists who murdered Israeli Jews; and that you unsuccessfully attempted to dilute the international definition of antisemitism that was adopted by the Labour Party.”
“This in addition to a long record of sharing platforms with, describing as ‘friends’ and offering support to individuals and groups who have made unambiguously racist comments and, in some cases, endorsed terrorism against Jews,” Zyle added.
“The British public is entitled to know how you account for these actions and we expect a full explanation,” she concluded.
The UK-based Campaign Against Antisemitism said that the book “clearly invokes the antisemitic Rothschild conspiracy theory.”
“The Rothschilds established themselves as a wealthy family of bankers in the early nineteenth century,” it pointed out. “They appear in many anti-Jewish conspiracy theories as a sinister, controlling force.”
“This latest revelation is yet further proof that Mr Corbyn is an antisemite. Under his leadership, the once fiercely anti-racist Labour Party has become an existential threat to British Jews,” the group stated
The Jewish Labour Movement slammed Corbyn for having “endorsed antisemitic propaganda,” and asserted “any other member would have been suspended after this.”
“A fish rots from the head,” the group said of Corbyn’s leadership.
Labour MP Wes Streeting said of the scandal, “My advice to any Labour MP today: refuse to defend Jeremy Corbyn lauding a book containing classic antisemitic tropes. If he wants to defend the indefensible he should go on the airwaves and defend himself. He has a responsibility to explain himself.”
Euan Philipps, of the group Labour Against Antisemitism, echoed this sentiment, saying, “The revelation Jeremy Corbyn wrote the foreword for a reportedly deeply antisemitic book is damning and damaging.”
A spokesperson for Labour responded to the outcry, stating, “Jeremy praised the Liberal Hobson’s century-old classic study of imperialism in Africa and Asia.”
“Similarly to other books of its era, Hobson’s work contains outdated and offensive references and observations, and Jeremy completely rejects the antisemitic elements of his analysis,” the spokesperson went on to say.