Jeremy Corbyn is the most anti-racist MP serving in parliament

Thursday, 5th November 2020

Jeremy Corbyn

‘Devastating to see anti-Semitism weaponised against Jeremy Corbyn’

• LIKE many other people, anti-Semitism is a very personal issue for me.

My mother, who survived the Holocaust hidden in a cellar in Vienna, lost 39 members of her family primarily in Auschwitz and Theresienstadt.

I have spent much of my adult life fighting racism: I became involved with the African National Congress when it was still a banned organisation in the mid-1980s.

As an ANC Member of Parliament I introduced the first ever motion on Holocaust remembrance in South African parliamentary history.

As an investigative writer, I have researched, published and spoken on genocide prevention, primarily for the Auschwitz Institute. I was honoured to be invited by the institute to speak at a genocide prevention workshop at Auschwitz itself.

It was my first visit to the place where many of my mother’s family perished, and was privileged to walk around the camp with Deborah Lipstadt, who explained the physical evidence she had used to refute Holocaust denier David Irving’s libel and defamation suit against her.

I have known of Jeremy Corbyn as a fighter against racism of every kind since he supported the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

I believe that he is the most anti-racist MP serving in parliament: this is borne out by his active support to every community, including the Jewish community, when faced with discrimination or difficulty.

It is, therefore, devastating to see anti-Semitism weaponised against him, (Shock suspension of long-serving MP Corbyn sparks Labour rebellion, October 30).

This is a view held by many hundreds of Jewish Labour Party members like myself, and many Jews in the UK – witness the support he has received from Orthodox rabbis and from numerous secular Jews.

The media narrative focuses on those mainstream Jewish organisations and individuals who are critical of Jeremy. Those of us who are supportive find it extraordinarily difficult to get our voices heard in the media.

Criticism of the Equality and Human Rights Commission report – which include its failure to even consider significant underlying evidence from the leaked Labour report which alleged senior Labour staff who were opposed to Jeremy’s leadership intentionally delayed acting on claims of anti-Semitism to embarrass him – is largely absent and appears to have been outlawed by the Labour Party leadership.

This smearing of a lifelong anti-racist is not only happening in the UK: attempts were also made in the US to brand Bernie Sanders an anti-Semite.

What they have in common is that they both threaten the political and economic status quo, and that they are appropriately critical of Israel’s brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine, just as they are of other human rights abusing countries such as Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and many others.

This is happening while actual anti-Semites such as Viktor Orbán continue their hate-filled political trajectories and while Donald Trump’s re-election campaign uses symbols used by the Nazis to brand people on the left.

It seems the establishment are practising what Edward Said described as “power repeating untruths until they have the force of truth”.

We cannot allow this to happen and must seek to honour the words of the brilliant Jewish writer, Victor Serge, who reminds us: “after all there is such a thing as the truth”.

ANDREW FEINSTEIN
Address supplied

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