Britain’s Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has once again put his foot in his mouth when talking about antisemitism.
This time, he compared the state of Israel to Muslim fanatics.
Speaking at the presentation of a report about antisemitism in his party, Corbyn failed to condemn Jew-hatred in isolation, as he has so consistently failed to do. Whenever antisemitism comes up, Corbyn must lecture against all forms of racism.
But he did one worse on Thursday, saying, “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organizations.”
If you’re not sure why that’s such an offensive statement, consider if he’d said, “Our American friends are no more responsible for the actions of the United States or Donald Trump’s campaign than are our German friends for those of the Nazis.”
Only a few months ago, Corbyn — who has since lost the confidence of his lawmakers and will probably face a leadership challenge — was in denial about the problem. He said people who complained about antisemitism were “nervous about the strength of the Labour Party at a local level” and stirring up trouble.
To be clear: what he meant was that “establishment” Labour politicians were looking for an excuse to discredit the left-wing activists Corbyn had brought into the party.
A long-time peacenik and backbencher, Corbyn unexpectedly won the leadership last year thanks to an influx of thousands of new party members.
There has since been a raft an antisemitic incidents, from one lawmaker arguing the “solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was “relocating” all the Jews to North America to Ken Livingstone, the former mayor or London and a Corbyn supporter, saying Adolf Hitler was a Zionist.
Livingstone also said “a real antisemite doesn’t just hate the Jews in Israel; they hate their Jewish neighbor in Golders Green or in Stoke Newington” — as if there is a distinction that matters.
Corbyn eventually suspended Livingstone from the party, but did so halfheartedly.
He could have said, “my old friend has clearly gone berserk.” Instead, he said “there is a responsibility to lead the party.”
Before he became leader, Corbyn hosted representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah in London, saying it was his “honor and pleasure” to host such “friends”.
Corbyn defended those invitations by saying all sides need to be heard in a peace process.
Except neither Hamas nor Hezbollah is interested in peace. They exist to destroy Israel and kill Jews.
It’s not something they hide. They are quite explicit about it.
And if Corbyn was interested in hearing “all sides”, then why didn’t he talk to any Israeli representatives?
It’s getting harder and harder to maintain that Corbyn is a decent man who is simply insensitive to antisemitism and looking more and more like his views on Israel are blinding him to a prejudice that has emerged under his leadership.