Many of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters have in recent days repeated the same rhetoric over and over. There is clear truth to the notion that being critical of Israel and its actions isn’t anti-semitic. However, describing all Jews as ‘Zionists’ or ‘zios’ and using this as a criticism is clearly anti-semitic. Many people who hurl these apparent insults do not take into account the person in question’s views or beliefs on Israel. These arguments simply group together all Jews and insult them on the basis that their religion talks about Israel as a homeland, regardless of what they think about the current state of affairs. These sort of messages are deeply hurtful to many Jews and are seen as anti-semitic by most Jews including myself.
I agree that Corbyn himself is not anti-semitic himself, however, he is apathetic to Jewish concerns and anti-semitic allegations within his party. The past few weeks of news stories have shown that Corbyn was and still is a member of several Facebook groups that contained explicit anti-semitic material. The latest story that has initiated the protests is a post regarding a mural. In this mural, bankers are depicted playing monopoly on the backs of the poor. The intention of the painter was to depict the bankers as rich Jews. For those complaining that the mural doesn’t resemble Jews explicitly, Corbyn himself admitted it was anti-semitic. This begs the question why Corbyn initially supported the mural staying up.
It is an insult to Jeremy Corbyn’s intelligence to suggest that he did not realise the content on these groups was anti-semitic and even more insulting to allege that he didn’t realise the content was anti-semitic at the time and only realised this fact 6 years later. It is becoming abundantly clear that Corbyn has the opportunity to distance himself from these groups, their members and their views, yet he fails at every opportunity to do so. Corbyn has become apathetic to the issue and mere public, carefully-worded statements will not cut it anymore. Prior to this month, the issue was Corbyn and Labour not expelling anti-semitic activists. Since then the issue has become personal to Corbyn. That is why many Jewish people protested along with supportive MPs this week. The cry is not to remove Corbyn or stop him being critical of the State of Israel. The call is for him to take firm, proper action on the major issue of anti-Semitism in Labour.
The rhetoric mentioned at the start of this article are damaging and help Corbyn hide from the issue at hand. It is time for people to stop defending the leadership’s apathetic nature.