This is a guest post by James Hamblin
Imagine, for a moment, that David Cameron had repeated the ancient antisemitic myth known as the “blood libel”, the idea that Jews murder non-Jewish children in order to use their blood for ritual purposes. Or what if he had said that Jews were “the chief financiers of the slave trade”. What would be the reaction?
At a minimum he would be universally shunned, shamed and discredited. If he were still Prime Minister, he’d have been hounded out of office. Certainly the only people who would share platforms with him after that would be people who either agreed with his sentiment or were apologists for it.
So why has Jeremy Corbyn shared platforms with people who have said those exact words? Such as Jackie Walker, who refuses to apologise for her outrageous remarks? Why did Corbyn express a wish to have tea on the parliamentary terrace with the leader of the Islamic Movement in Northern Israel, Raed Salah, who was found by a British court judge to have used the blood libel against Jews?
Yet by contrast, during the EU referendum campaign, Corbyn refused on multiple occasions to share a platform with David Cameron. What does that say about Jeremy Corbyn’s moral outlook?
Corbyn is often defended by well meaning, naive observers as “a nice guy” even if you disagree with him. Yet the record shows that time and again, Corbyn will provide oxygen and cover for bigots, racists, terrorist sympathisers and antisemites.
His record shows no signs of improving considering that Corbyn is due to speak next month at the same Stop The War Coalition rally as Anas Altikriti, a man devoted to the Muslim Brotherhood who does not shy away from the fact that he and the Brotherhood support Hamas. Both Hamas and the Brotherhood are committed to Israel’s destruction and have a history of antisemitism as long as my arm.
He talks piously of fighting against racism, standing up against discrimination wherever he finds it – and yet he stood mutely by while one of his own MPs, Ruth Smeeth left a press conference announcing the Chakrabarti Report’s findings in tears after being tormented by Mark Wadsworth, a well-known far left Labour activist. Incidentally, Smeeth is now under police protection after receiving death threats and antisemitic abuse.
There’s a clear pattern here. The far left is full of people who are at best muddle-headed and, at worst, outright bigots, especially and most notably when it comes to Jews and support for antisemitic terrorist groups who seek Israel’s destruction. They express views that are rightly seen as unacceptable in 21st century Britain. The far left’s insistence that it stands against injustice and discrimination makes it both nauseatingly self-righteous and stubbornly resistant to self-examination for its failure to tackle the bigots in its own ranks.
Yet the Labour Party’s supine leader will seemingly do nothing – absolutely nothing – to confront or to shun these people as it would impede what he sees as the greater objective, i.e. opposing so-called “Western Imperialism”, which Israel, a liberal democracy and close ally of the United States, is seen as irrevocably a part of.
I suspect that’s the deeper reason why he wouldn’t stand on a platform with David Cameron – because to Corbyn, a Tory Prime Minister is simply beyond the pale, while anyone who opposes the West is automatically morally superior regardless of anything else they’ve actually said or done. He puts politics ahead of standing up to bullies and racists.
Until he stops sharing platforms with dubious characters and stands up to unacceptable attitudes in groups like Momentum, he will remain an apologist for racists, bigots and antisemites. It’s about time that some of his supposedly morally upstanding supporters stopped defending him as “a nice guy” and called him out on it.