Sunday 23 August 2015

2 of Corbyn's Jewish constituents offer support

Letter in the Jewish Chronicle:

Dear Letters Editor

As Jewish constituents of Jeremy Corbyn for nearly two decades we have met him many times, both through his day-to-day work supporting people in his constituency, and through his wider campaigning work, especially in support of migrants and refugees and against racism, fascism and war.

Those who know him personally cannot take seriously the campaign of smears, wild distortions and innuendo against him, through which newspapers such as the Jewish Chronicle, Daily Mail and Sunday Express are trying to paint him as an antisemite or a friend of antisemites.

Memories are depressingly short. In 2013, the Daily Mail, which regularly publishes lurid scare stories about migrants and refugees, tried to undermine the previous Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, in the minds of anti-immigrant readers, by reminding them that Miliband’s father was an East European refugee. Furthermore, it claimed that Miliband senior was disloyal and insufficiently grateful to Britain. In the late 1930s, when Miliband’s family were desperately trying to escape from Nazism, it was the Sunday Express which complained in an editorial “…just now there is a big influx of foreign Jews into Britain. They are over-running the country.”

Last weekend we stood outside Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre protesting the inhuman treatment of women detained there. Jeremy Corbyn was the only leadership candidate to send a message of support.

His real crime, of course, in the eyes of the Jewish Chronicle, is that he has been a longstanding supporter of justice for the Palestinians and a negotiated peace based on an end to the occupation.

But as he said in the JW3 hustings recently: “Does questioning the behaviour of the Israeli state towards Palestinians lead to antisemitism? No, it mustn’t and shouldn’t … Whether it’s a synagogue or a mosque under attack we must all come together … as one in confronting it.”

We are proud that our MP has stood for the Labour leadership on a platform of challenging austerity, enhancing democracy, combating racism and giving support and hope to the most vulnerable members of society.

David Rosenberg and Julia Bard