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Jeremy Corbyn on Freedland’s critique of Labour antisemitism: “utterly disgusting subliminal nastiness”

Watch from 03:27: Corbyn on the phone to Seumas Milne:

“The big negative today is Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian. Labour has a problem with antisemitism under Corbyn! Utterly disgusting subliminal nastiness, you know. He’s not a good guy at all. He seems kind of obsessed with me, you know?”

This is what Freedland had written about Corbyn:

Which brings us to Jeremy Corbyn. No one accuses him of being an antisemite. But many Jews do worry that his past instinct, when faced with potential allies whom he deemed sound on Palestine, was to overlook whatever nastiness they might have uttered about Jews, even when that extended to Holocaust denial or the blood libel – the medieval calumny that Jews baked bread using the blood of gentile children. (To be specific: Corbyn was a long-time backer of a pro-Palestinian group founded by Paul Eisen, attending its 2013 event even after Eisen had outed himself as a Holocaust denier years earlier. Similarly, Corbyn praised Islamist leader Sheikh Raed Salah even though, as a British court confirmed, Salah had deployed the blood libel.)

Thanks to Corbyn, the Labour party is expanding, attracting many leftists who would previously have rejected it or been rejected by it. Among those are people with hostile views of Jews. Two of them have been kicked out, but only after they had first been readmitted and once their cases attracted unwelcome external scrutiny.

The question for Labour now is whether any of this matters. To those at the top, maybe it doesn’t. But it feels like a painful loss to a small community that once looked to Labour as its natural home – and which is fast reaching the glum conclusion that Labour has become a cold house for Jews.

It clearly isn’t so surprising that a left-wing Guardian writer on Zionism and antisemitism should be interested in the way the leader of the Labour Party handles these precise issues, and demonstrates Freedland’s interest in a relevant topic rather than a personal obsession.

This throwaway comment, then, is a window into how Corbyn views criticism of his handling of the antisemitism crisis in Labour: as a personal attack.

So you can draw your own conclusions.

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