A new poll has revealed that a third of British voters believe controversial Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite.
According to The Sunday Times, a YouGov poll shows that 34 percent of voters consider Corbyn antisemitic, while 32 percent said they didn’t know. Only 24 percent said unequivocally that he is not. Asked if the Labour Party as a whole is antisemitic, 24 percent of those surveyed answered yes.
The Jewish Labour Movement’s spokesperson called the numbers “deeply depressing,” and said, “Hundreds of thousands of voters have made up their minds that Labour is a racist party that they can’t support.”
Since Corbyn was elected leader of Labour in 2015, the party has been wracked by antisemitism scandals, several implicating Corbyn himself. Former UK chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks has compared him to the late Enoch Powell, a notoriously racist British politician. Polls have shown more than 80 percent of British Jews consider Corbyn an antisemite.
The YouGov poll results came a day after former Labour vice-chairman Michael Dugher announced he was leaving the party because of its “repeated failure to adequately tackle anti-Semitism.”
“All my political and adult life I have been a great friend and admirer of the Jewish community,” Dugher wrote in the UK daily The Sun. “The Labour Party I joined was a proud anti-racist party. Not so today. Labour’s bosses and party HQ have had repeated opportunities to fix the problem they undoubtedly have with anti-Semitism — and they’ve repeatedly failed to do so.”
Addressing Corbyn’s leadership, Dugher noted that the Labour head “has been dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism his whole political life. His excuse always seems to be that he was ‘present but not involved.’ That excuse just doesn’t wash anymore.”
“Today, under his leadership, anti-Semites in the Labour Party are repeatedly let off with a rap on the knuckles, rather than being booted out for good,” Dugher asserted.
“The Labour Party I joined no longer exists,” he said. “In all good conscience, I can no longer justify paying subs to a party which I now regard as institutionally anti-Semitic.”
“One of the reasons I joined Labour all those years ago was because I believed in solidarity,” he concluded. “So in solidarity with all my Jewish friends, and everyone who abhors anti-Semitism, I’m leaving Labour. That it has come to this is truly heartbreaking.”
Dugher’s announcement came on the same day an excerpt from a new biography of Corbyn was published by The Daily Mail that may reveal the origins of the Labour leader’s antisemitism.
According to author Tom Bower, a young Corbyn was employed as an assistant in the research department of the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, which was involved in talks with the Retail Bespoke Tailoring Wages Council.
Many figures in both organizations were Jewish, and the young Corbyn developed a narrative in which he discovered fraud and withholding of wages from workers on the part of the employers involved, whom he described as “Scumbags, actually. Crooks.”
Corbyn’s boss, however, revealed that Corbyn’s tale was a fantasy and his accusations had been proven false by the union’s own records.
Bower notes that “Corbyn, not for the first time reshaping the truth to improve his self-image, conjured a tale of a brave personal fight against exploitative Jewish employers of sweatshop labour.”
“Parochialism and fantasy,” says Bower, “led to him forming his views about the malign collective power of Jews.”
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Author: Benjamin Kerstein
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