Frank Land on antisemitism, Corbyn and Rabbi Mirvis

Frank Land, OBE, explains what antisemitism means to him. These reflections were first posted on the JVL Facebook page with an introduction by Mike Cushman:

“I’m delighted to be able to post this as Frank Land is a very distinguished academic, winner of the highest international prizes and was my mentor and inspiration when I did my masters and started on my research career.”

Also see Frank Land’s Wikipedia entry


Frank Land (on the right) with his twin brother Ralph at their joint 90th birthday party last year. Photo: Mike Cushman

Let’s start living in the real world. In a response to an attack on myself and my views I was asked to apologise for opposing the condemnation of Jeremy Corbyn and the institutional Anti-Semitism of the Labour Party. My response included the following:

Perhaps it would be useful to outline where my understanding of anti-Semitism comes from.

• As a boy of 9, I witnessed the State-sponsored Kristallnacht in Berlin.
• A little earlier the German State confiscated my Father’s engineering business.
• Every member of our Family had to wear a yellow star and were debarred from sitting on designated park benches plus other discriminatory regulations.
• My Mother’s parents died in Theresienstadt though we don’t know if they were killed or died of neglect.
• One Uncle spent time in Dachau Concentration Camp and another died of ill-health after years of forced (slave) labour.
• My large extended family was scattered across the world, including Israel, as refugees.

Of course many, many Jewish families fared much worse.

What I witnessed was institutional anti-Semitism and very clearly an existential threat to the Jewish Community. Are you, or the Chief Rabbi, telling me that Corbyn or the Labour Party poses any similar threat or even the threat of state sponsored discrimination against Jews? Or would tolerate discrimination of any sort against Jews?

We as Jews with our experience through the centuries must be the first to see and fight against racism wherever it crops up and whatever group it is directed at – Jew Palestinian, or whoever. In the 1930s and World War II Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust was the by far the most important and heart-breaking racialist motivated issue and we applaud all those who stood on the barricades with us. But in more recent decades it is not Jews who were the main targets, though Anti-Semitism continued in many communities including most political parties.

Corbyn, not surprisingly, focussed on some of these issues. He is now attacked because he called- out discrimination and deprivation against Palestinians But nothing he has said or done make him other than enemy of discrimination and oppression. If he perceived a threat to Jews from based on Anti-Semitic attitudes he would be the first on the barricades defending the Jews.

Frank Land OBE


Comments (3)

  • Peter Crabb says:

    So well put, Mr Land. Jews in the UK should know who their real enemies are, and it is not Jeremy Corbyn or the Labour Party. It is also sadly that fact that the Palestinians are the victims of the victims of the Holocaust. This must stop.

  • Emma says:

    Thankyou for this dignified response.It so good to hear an alternative view.We must always speak out against all injustice and stand up for democracy.

  • Geoff Parker says:

    Yes! It’s so refreshing to see a detailed analysis on this crucial issue, rather than the vague, unsubstantiated accusations of the right-wing against a genuine socialist! Many thanks, Frank Land!

Comments are now closed.