READERS of a sensitive disposition, look away now.
In a few weeks’ time Britain’s prime minister could be a man who refused to sing the national anthem; paid tribute to IRA terrorists; considers the psychopaths of Hamas and Hezbollah his friends; petitioned for Hamas to be removed from a terror list; opposed a full Hezbollah ban; said Jews don’t get English irony; endorsed an antisemitic mural; paid homage to the Munich Olympic terrorists; banked £20,000 for appearing on Iranian propaganda TV; claimed ISIS supporters shouldn’t be prosecuted; shared platforms with hate preachers and Holocaust deniers and – as a result of all this and so much more besides – currently leads a party being investigated for antisemitism by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
To the obvious anguish of British Jews (and anyone else with a functioning cerebral cortex) Jeremy Corbyn, the eccentric Marxist apologist for Jew haters who hijacked his party after its post-Blairite moral implosion, is now a heartbeat from taking control of the country.
Corbyn is obsessively, relentlessly anti-establishment, anti-royalty, anti-European Union (despite feigning otherwise), anti-American and oh-so loudly and proudly anti-Israel – making him a poster boy for the British anti-Zionism movement.
Corbyn is not a work in progress, he’s a piece of work. He’s had the same beard, same brogues, same ties and same tired ideas for 40 years.
As former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson says: “Jeremy hasn’t changed his mind about anything since he was 15.”
Corbyn is so unpopular, even the vast majority of his own MPs (172 out of 222) backed a no-confidence vote in his leadership.
He was saved by the support of the party’s membership, which has swelled under his leadership, thanks in no small part to the Jew haters and conspiratorial cranks who now delight in calling Labour their political home.
Denounce them, call this filth out for what they really are, and Corbyn denounces much of his core support. That’s why he won’t decisively tackle antisemitism in his party. That’s his catch 20-Jew.
The most likely outcome of the December 12 election is a narrow Conservative victory, but without the overall majority needed for Boris Johnson to form a government. That will push the Westminster doors wide open for Corbyn, who will entice smaller parties such as the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Nationalists to join him in a coalition with the promise of what they covet most – for the Lib Dems a second referendum on the UK’s exit from Europe and for the Scottish Nationalists a second referendum on Scotland’s exit from the UK.
Should that nightmare come to pass, a recent poll found 47 per cent of British Jews would “seriously consider” emigrating – potentially good news for Melbourne’s Jewish community, not so much Manchester’s.
Faced with the prospect of living under a rabidly anti-Israel UK government – one that would curb bilateral relations with the Jewish State and publicly sympathise with Hezbollah and Hamas – tensions are running sky high among British Jews. It’s got so serious that last week one rabbi, Jonathan Romain, took the unprecedented decision to write to his congregation beseeching them not to vote Labour as a “Corbyn-led government would pose a danger to Jewish life as we know it”.
Rabbi Romain added: “Corbyn-led Labour has, at best, let antisemitism arise within its ranks, or at worst, has encouraged it. This has never happened under any previous Labour leader … We should each put aside all other considerations and vote for whichever party is most likely to defeat Labour.”
Elsewhere, the Jewish Labour Movement has refused to campaign for its own party. “Our Labour values have not changed,” it said. “But we can’t support a leader who has failed so utterly to tackle racism in his party and ensure it is a safe space for us.”
The Corbyn threat now seems so existential that even Luciana Berger, the admired Jewish MP hounded out of the Labour Party earlier this year, has been chastised for standing as a Liberal Democrat against a Conservative ally of the community. Many Jews would prefer Berger to fight a Labour candidate rather than a friend, the concern being that in a zero-sum-game election, every vote snatched from the Conservatives makes Corbyn’s task easier.
The morning of Friday, December 13 (it had to be Friday the 13th), will see Britain awake to the end of Corbyn’s Labour or the start of Corbyn’s Britain. The stakes and the consequences could not be higher.
Watch this space, from behind your sofa.
Richard Ferrer is the editor of the UK Jewish News.
• First published in the Australian Jewish News.