The famous Soviet “refusnik” and human rights campaigner, Natan Sharansky, has said that the antisemitism in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn is reminiscent of the USSR.
Mr Sharansky, who became famous for being refused the right to emigrate to Israel by Soviet authorities but eventually rose to become Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, expressed concern in an interview that Mr Corbyn and many of his supporters adopt positions on Israel and Zionists redolent of the antisemitic rhetoric in the Soviet Union under Stalin.
Mr Sharasnky declared that Mr Corbyn’s “extreme anti-Zionism” is “practically almost impossible to differ sometimes from antisemitism”, reminiscing how the support he received from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was enhanced by the backing of Labour activists and lamenting that now, looking at the Labour Party, “as we know from Russia, it starts from anti-Zionism and goes to classic antisemitism and then much further.”
He urged Mr Corbyn to “change your positions [on Hamas and related matters] or stop lying that you have no problem with Jews.”
Mr Sharasnky said that he finds antisemitism “easier to identify” because “I am from the Soviet Union, Stalin’s Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union was speaking against Israel, everybody knew that it was about your Jewish neighbours…and when Soviet propaganda was speaking about ‘cosmopolites’, everybody knew that it was about Jews. These rather cold words which were used for a very open antisemitic campaign against Jews who are ‘not a loyal part of our population’ and Israel was simply used as proof that they’re not loyal.” He added that “for me it is so easy because it looks exactly like Soviet rhetoric…that was official Soviet propaganda, and the fact that it is now repeated by Iran and supported by Corbyn, that’s very sad.”
Fearing the growing acceptance of anti-Jewish prejudice, Mr Sharasnky said that “it’s surprising for me how Britain has become an example that antisemitism doesn’t stand on the extremes. It starts from the extremes and then goes to the mainstream.” He also noted that he hears “all the time from” British Jews, including “some serious representatives of the Jewish community of London” who are considering moving to Israel out of fear of a Corbyn-led government in the UK, with some families “buying apartments…not for them, for their children.”
On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Over 57,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”