It’s shocking and disturbing that some supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have suggested that the judge who ruled against him in a Labour party membership case was biased against him because he was born in Israel or because his is a Zionist or because he attended a Jewish boarding school.
Lord Justice Jack Beatson ruled in the Court of Appeal on Friday that Labour had the right to block new members from voting in the leadership contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith.
The decision affects around 130,000 party members, most of them thought to be Corbynites.
Mr Corbyn’s campaign team attacked it as wrong “both legally and democratically”.
After the ruling, messages were posted on Twitter questioning Justice Beatson’s competence because he was “born in Israel”.
For much the same reason, it was immensely more disturbing when Donald Trump– not some of his supporters but the Republican presidential candidate himself– said that a federal judge’s ruling against him in lawsuits related to the “Trump University” scam was motivated by the judge’s ethnicity.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump claimed the judge could not fairly preside over the Trump University cases because of Curiel’s “Mexican heritage.” (Curiel is from Indiana; his parents are Mexican immigrants.) “I’m building a wall, it’s an inherent conflict of interest,” he added.
It wasn’t a one-off.
The dog-whistle insinuations began in February, after the lawsuits were brought up during a debate. Trump told Fox News a few days later that Curiel’s treatment “has to do with I’m very, very strong on the border.”
“Now, he is Hispanic, I believe. He is a very hostile judge to me,” Trump said.
The racial subtext became text last week when Trump made Curiel the subject of a 12-minute rant at a campaign event in San Diego, where the judge is based and on the same day that the judge was hearing a motion to unseal docs pertaining to Trump University’s strategy.
“I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel. And he is not doing the right thing,” Trump said, later suggesting Curiel was “Mexican.”
Trump has said that as president, he will build a wall along the southern border for which Mexico will somehow be made to pay. He advocates rounding up and deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US and has called Mexican immigrants “rapists.”
Corbyn should make clear that his supporters who highlighted Justice Beatson’s ethnicity did not speak for him. Trump should… well, he doesn’t apologize, so that’s out of the question. It’s his supporters who claim to be appalled by what he said about Judge Curiel but nevertheless continue to back him who will need to apologize at some point. At least I hope so.