In an outrageous statement, Labour has claimed that it if you point out an antisemitic trope, that is reinforcing antisemitism. This statement sets a new low in Labour Party responses to accusations of antisemitism.
Labour was responding to the revelation yesterday that in 2009 Jeremy Corbyn authored an article in which he claimed that a decision by the BBC not to broadcast a 2009 appeal to send money to Gaza demonstrated the “unbelievably high levels of influence that Israel’s government appears to have in the upper echelons of parts of the media.” He also wrote that Israel has “control of US foreign policy.” The comments which appeared in an article that he wrote for the extreme-left Morning Star were exposed by investigative journalist Iggy Ostanin.
Responding to Mr Corbyn’s comments about media control, a spokesperson for the Labour Party said that: “The suggestion that Jeremy was talking about Jewish people, when he commented on the greater level of media influence the Israeli government has than the Palestinian leadership, is entirely false, and itself relies on a damaging antisemitic trope.”
The accusation of Jews controlling foreign policy and the media is one of the most well known antisemitic conspiracy theories. Under the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions” is antisemitic.
It is very clear to us that Mr Corbyn was deploying an antisemitic trope, and the Labour Party’s attempt to blame us for calling him out on it is appalling.
The notion that the Israeli government has “control of US foreign policy” and “unbelievably high levels of influence” over the media is a conspiracy theory drawn straight from racist myths about Jewish power. Mr Corbyn has a history of endorsing such conspiracy theories, whether he is accusing “the hand of Israel” of being behind Islamist attacks in Egypt, or writing his glowing foreword to a tome alleging that a “peculiar race” has successfully plotted to control Europe. Due to the weight of evidence, we have had no option other than to conclude that the reason Mr Corbyn promotes these views is that he himself is an antisemite.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has begun pre-enforcement proceedings against the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant. The pre-enforcement proceedings are a precursor to opening a full statutory investigation.
In recent months, eleven MPs have resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism, along with numerous councillors and members.
Over 50,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”