April 2019

"We need to talk about Jeremy Corbyn"

An interesting article, 'We need to talk about Jeremy Corbyn', can be read here.

The article is on the website of Ekklesia, an independent, not-for-profit Christian thinktank. The author, Bernadette Meaden, is an Ekklesia Associate and is not a member of any political party.

The following are quotes from her article:

'The Leader of the Opposition has been the subject of an extraordinary amount of distorted and untrue media coverage and political rhetoric. This coarsens our political discourse and polarises society. It is time to tone down the rhetoric and respect the truth, for the sake of a healthy democracy and a cohesive society.'

'The reality is, Corbyn is a democratic socialist of the type that is common in Europe, where the policies he advocates would be unremarkable.'

'In the age of Trump, we desperately need politicians who can view their own country with a degree of objectivity.'

'The most troubling accusation is that Jeremy Corbyn is either antisemitic himself, or condones or tolerates antisemitism. These accusations first seemed to arise after he was elected leader of the Labour Party in September 2015, so it seems fair to examine his behaviour prior to becoming leader and before he attracted so much media attention.

'Over the years, Corbyn has signed numerous Early Day Motions condemning anti-semitism and supporting Jewish causes, but perhaps more importantly, he seems to have had a very good relationship with Jewish people in his own community.

'On United Synagogue, a European Jewish website, Glynis Kuzuk wrote about the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at the site of North London Synagogue in Islington: “Rabbi Mendy Korer, who helped to organise the event followed with telling the audience of his involvement, from inviting the local MP Jeremy Corbyn to Shabbat dinner when the MP suggested applying for the plaque, to the procedure for residents in the locality voting for its installation.” Pictures of the event, stemming from a suggestion by Corbyn himself, show a smiling Corbyn with the rabbi and other members of the community. This does not seem to be the behaviour of a person with antisemitic views.'

'... it is interesting to look at some substantive research in this area, from the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

'In 2017 it published Antisemitism in contemporary Great Britain: A study of attitudes towards Jews and Israel which was said to be "the largest and most detailed survey of attitudes towards Jews and Israel ever conducted in this country."'

'To put it simply, this study found that people on the right tend to be more anti-semitic but pro-Israel than those on the left. People on the left tend to be less anti-semitic, but more anti-Israel, than those on the right. This makes the distinction between criticism of Israel and antisemitism crucial, as by focusing on left-wing anti-Israel views, and conflating them with antisemitism, we may neglect a deeper problem of antisemitism on the right.'

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