Now we know. The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party for antisemitism are about Israel after all

Jonathan Arkush puts delegitimisation of Israel at the core of what it is to be antisemitic. We suggest looking at what really delegitimises Israel in the eyes of public opinion worldwide: the ongoing occupation and theft of Palestinian land, the ever-expanding settlements, the continual flouting of international law, the cold-blooded shooting of protestors in Gaza, the shabby treatment of asylum seekers at home…

Enough is enough!

Jonathan Arkush – Board of Deputies

British Jews are asking ‘Do we have a future?’ says outgoing president of board of deputies

 

Jeremy Corbyn holds “antisemitic views” which could drive Jewish people to leave Britain if he becomes prime minister, one of the UK’s most senior Jewish leaders has said.

Jonathan Arkush, the outgoing president of the board of deputies, said Corbyn “has views which are antisemitic, and he has problematic views”.

He also criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who should have had a “stronger, clearer voice” in support of the Jewish community, he said.

Arkush, who was among senior Jewish leaders who met Corbyn in April to discuss concerns about antisemitism, told the Daily Telegraph that British Jews were asking: “Do we have a future here?”

“Delegitimising the state of Israel is antisemitic,” Arkush told the newspaper. “He was a chairman of Stop the War, which is responsible for some of the worst anti-Israel discourse.

“If he shares the prevalent discourse about Israel, then that view is unquestionably antisemitic.”

Arkush said Corbyn would need to tell Jews that he “will not accept a discourse which denies the existence of their own land to the Jewish people … I think we are all entitled to some clarity on his real views about Israel”.

Corbyn’s spokesman said the comments were “personal attacks without any evidence to support them … Jeremy has been absolutely clear that he is a militant opponent of antisemitism and is committed to driving it out of our movement”.

The spokesman said Labour had deep roots in the Jewish community and was campaigning to increase the confidence of the community, the spokesman said.

“Jonathan Arkush’s attempt to conflate strong criticism of Israeli state policies with antisemitism is wrong and undermines the fight both against antisemitism and for justice for the Palestinians,” the spokesman added. “It should be rejected outright.”

Rhea Wolfson, a member of Labour’s national executive committee, said she was shocked by the comments. “Jeremy Corbyn is not antisemitic, he does not hold antisemitic views,” she tweeted. “I cannot understand what Arkush is trying to achieve here but I know it isn’t about being constructive.

“Jonathan Arkush has never spoken for me, for many other young, progressive Jews, and he doesn’t in this article. We have a lot of work to take a lot of poison out of the debate… around Israel and Palestine, making blanket accusations isn’t constructive and doesn’t move towards a better debate or solutions.”

Arkush will hand over the presidency of the Board of Deputies this week to newly elected president Marie van der Zyl. After her election earlier this month, Van der Zyl said the board of deputies wanted to continue dialogue with the Labour leader.

“We want to see Jeremy Corbyn lead the Labour party and carry out his pledge to root out antisemitism and all forms of racism within the party,” she said.