The Corner

National Security & Defense

No Enemies to the Left, Few Enemies in the Gutter: The Company Corbyn Keeps

With the polls continuing, it seems, to grind away at the Tory lead (Ipsos MORI has it down to five percentage points) in the British general election (voting will be on Thursday), many thanks to the reader who alerted me to this story about Jeremy Corbyn, the extremist who (if Ipsos MORI is correct) over 40 percent of Brits now are prepared to see as their prime minister:

From the Daily Telegraph (in September 2015):

Jeremy Corbyn led a campaign for the release of two convicted terrorists who were jailed for their part in the car bombing of the Israeli embassy in London and a Jewish charity building. Jawad Botmeh and Samar Alami were convicted of conspiracy to cause explosions in the UK in 1996, which injured 20 people. They were jailed for 20 years…

Both fought a lengthy campaign to clear their names but their appeals were rejected by the Court of Appeal and the European Court of Human Rights. Mr Corbyn, the front-runner in the Labour leadership race, has repeatedly raised their cases as part of a long-running campaign to overturn the convictions…

Writing in The Guardian at about the same time, James Bloodworth argued that while he genuinely believed “that Corbyn does not have an antisemitic bone in his body , he does have a proclivity for sharing platforms with individuals who do; and his excuses for doing so do not stand up.”

It’s worth reading the Bloodworth piece in its entirety, but here are some extracts:

Corbyn has [t]aken tea on the parliamentary terrace with Raed Salah, who he described as “a very honoured citizen” despite that fact that Salah was charged with inciting anti-Jewish racism and violence in January 2008 in Jerusalem and sentenced to eight months in prison. He was found by a British court judge to have used the “blood libel”, the medieval antisemitic canard that Jews use gentile blood for ritual purposes;

[Corbyn has [w]ritten a letter defending Stephen Sizer, the vicar disciplined by the Church of England for linking to an article on social media entitled 9/11: Israel Did It;

[Corbyn has p]resented a call-in programme on Press TV, a propaganda channel of the Iranian government which was banned by Ofcom and which regularly hosts Holocaust deniers;

[Corbyn has b]een accused of donating money to self-proclaimed Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, whose Deir Yassin Remembered group has been shunned by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in the name of refusing to “turn a blind eye to antisemitism”. Corbyn has addressed that claim via his spokesman, who said that “Jeremy Corbyn’s office” had had no contact with Eisen and that Corbyn disassociated himself from his extreme views – a denial that seems neither forceful nor convincing.

I’ll leave it to you to decide what is going on here? If I had to guess, Corbyn  is not anti-Semitic (at least as he understands the term), but he is either disturbingly indifferent to anti-Semitism (unless it comes wrapped in the traditional garb of the far right) or, worse still, is prepared to overlook it in the interests of the broader ‘anti-imperialist’ struggle he is forever fighting.

The same is true with Corbyn’s attitude towards some of his more—how to put this—‘enthusiastic’ supporters.

Writing in The Spectator, Nick Cohen quotes from a letter he received from “a Labour party member, who does not want to give his full name for fear of abuse”.

An extract:

It cannot be emphasised enough that abusive Corbyn supporters only represent a vocal minority. However it is also clear that Labour wasn’t experiencing the problems of abuse and intimidation prior to the birth of this current movement. In the process of fact checking, it became apparent that some incidents of abuse may have been exaggerated in order to criticise the pro-Corbyn movement. However, it’s simply not possible to claim that the hundreds-upon-hundreds of separately documented incidents, abusive voicemails and phone calls, physical confrontations, police callouts and death threats are all exaggerations. Here [is] a list of just some of them:

Over 40 female MPs have written to Jeremy Corbyn pleading with him to try to curtail the abuse they receive from his supporters. It’s not clear what Jeremy Corbyn has actually done about this issue.

Across the country, Labour constituency meetings have been temporarily suspended by the NEC because of the levels of abuse and intimidation taking place at some of these gatherings.

Since challenging Corbyn’s leadership, Labour MP Angela Eagle… has been told by police that, for now, she should not hold constituency surgeries because her safety cannot be guaranteed…

At the release of the Labour anti-Semitism report, Labour MP Ruth Smeeth was abused by a Corbyn supporter. Meanwhile, Corbyn apparently watched and said nothing.

Again, make of it what you will, but those who think Corbyn’s  repeated displays of a most convenient indifference (to put it at its kindest) would come to an end should his Labour party win the election are in for a very nasty surprise indeed.

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