By Richard Mather…
If a leadership candidate for a mainstream British political party was known to be a “friend” of Golden Dawn and the Ku Klux Klan, he or she would be booed off stage, and rightly so. But substitute these far Right racist groups for Hamas and Hezbollah and suddenly such friendships are considered part of a winning political formula.
Welcome to Britain where Labour parliamentarian Jeremy Corbyn is set to win his party’s leadership contest. Corbyn, who is MP for the London constituency of Islington North, was encouraged to put his name on the ballot by colleagues who felt that the Labour leadership debate should be widened to include views from the far Left of the party. Since then, Corbyn has raced ahead in the contest and is now 20 points ahead of his nearest rival.
Corbyn’s links to anti-Semitic organisations should be a source of embarrassment for the Labour Party, but Corbyn is now the messiah of the militant Left in Britain. He has the backing of several major trade unions and he is feted by the British Communist Party.
Some commentators light-heartedly call it Corbynmania but they should be more circumspect. The popularity of Corbyn is suggestive of something unpleasant in the British political psyche. The fact that so many people – especially young Labour Party members – are so enamoured of a man who openly refers to Hezbollah and Hamas as “friends” reveals the popular extent of ideological extremism in the UK.
In other words, for large parts of the British Left, anti-Semitism is nothing to be embarrassed about.
Consider Corbyn’s enthusiastic support for the Jew-hating Islamist Raed Salah.
Salah was charged with inciting anti-Jewish violence after he repeated the anti-Semitic blood libel during a 2007 speech in east Jerusalem. And in 2001, following the 9/11 atrocities, Salah propagated the conspiracy theory that Jewish employees at the Twin Towers were absent from work on September 11. This has not stopped Corbyn referring to Salah as “an honoured citizen” and “a far from dangerous man” – indeed, a man with whom Corbyn wants to share “tea on the terrace.”
As patron of the Palestine Solidarity Committee , Corbyn declared in a 2009 speech that “it will be my pleasure and honour to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking. I’ve also invited our friends from Hamas to come and speak as well.”
As well as meetings with Hamas and Hezbollah, Corbyn has (according to The Telegraph) taken thousands of pounds in gifts from organisations closely linked to Hamas, including the Palestinian Return Centre. He has also hosted a meeting with a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and shared a platform with Leila Khaled, one of the Black September hijackers.
So what is going on? Clearly, Corbyn has a fetish for organisations that employ extreme violence and terror to undermine the security of nation states. Hence his support for Hamas/Hezbollah and the IRA, which seek to dismantle the State of Israel and the United Kingdom respectively. While the Jewish state is condemned by Corbyn, both Hezbollah and Hamas are praised for their revolutionary zeal. As is typical of someone who belongs to the militant Left, Corbyn seems to have adopted the dubious stance that when Islamists kill Jews, it is a legitimate expression of a Third World ‘will to power.’ Conversely, when Israel seeks to defend Jews, it is accused of colonialism, fascism and disproportionate behaviour.
Corbyn would no doubt respond that he simply wants a “free Palestine” (whatever that means). But putting aside the fact that the Arabs have turned down a two-state solution on several occasions, does the Left really expect a State of Palestine to be a place of tolerance and equality, with functioning democratic institutions and trade unions?
If Corbyn wants these things for the Arab Palestinians why is he so cosy with Hamas, which considers homosexuality to be a moral sickness? Why is he on such good terms with an organisation that diverts humanitarian aid and uses civilians as human shields?
The answer is that Corbyn cares little for the Arab Palestinians but he cares a great deal about accepting gifts and patronage from a group of rocket-toting fanatics wearing keffiyehs.
The possibility of a Corbyn-led Labour Party, which will seek a mandate from the UK electorate in 2020, should send a chill down the spine of British Jewry. It certainly worries me.