Jeremy Corbyn has a few questions to answer. They have been posed by The Jewish Chronicle, iterated by the Daily Mail, reiterated by the Guardian and re-reiterated by the Campaign Against Antisemitism. They would be important concerns for any elected politician to be asked to address, let alone one who (it seems) is about to be elected Leader of HM Loyal Opposition.
Essentially, Jeremy Corbyn seems to enjoy fellowship with Jew-hating anti-Semites, conspiracy theorists, murderers, Israel-haters, Holocaust-deniers and sundry other terrorists and extremists. But it is averred that there’s nothing wrong in that..
But surely there’s a distinction to be drawn between the unavoidable clammy hands one is obliged to shake in a world of realpolitik and diplomatic matters of state, and the obnoxious undesirables with whom one voluntarily associates, to the point of proclaiming what a “pleasure and honour” it is to host “our friends”, when those friends have murdered, tortured, maimed and terrorised countless thousands of innocent people, if not unknown tens of thousands in the pursuit of their political objectives. “Our friends from Hezbollah”? “Our friends from Hamas”? If the future leader of the Labour Party will not condemn the IRA, what response will he make to the Islamic State? “Women are raped, men are tortured and children slaughtered on both sides?” Would he share a platform with Nigel Farage and declare what a “pleasure and honour” it is to host “our friends from Ukip”?
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners (1 Cor 15:33).
I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.
I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked (Ps 26:4f).
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:
Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul (Prov 22:24f).
It would be a grave error to assume that Jeremy Corbyn’s associations and entanglements are a result of hasty or simplistic political judgment. There is something more intricate about his ideological consistency which is inseparable from his political office. As an obscure backbencher, perhaps it didn’t matter. But as HM Leader of the Opposition and putative prime-minister-in-waiting, it is of profound importance.
If Jewishness is a problem for Jeremy Corbyn, and the existence of Israel a cause of offence, what response can he credibly make to those who are driven from their synagogues, spat on in the streets, harassed outside the school gates or kidnapped and murdered in their sleep, simply for wearing a kippa? What can he say to the relatives of those whose gravestones are desecrated with faeces or defaced by Nazi swastikas? How can the leader of HM Loyal Opposition speak peace to Jewish leaders while engendering polemics and hostility toward them, their religion, their heritage and their ancestors?
Do not rich men oppress you..? (Js 2:6).
His eyes have seen the glory of the coming of Karl Marx.
He is trampling out the bankers where the people’s wealth is stored..
In the pursuit of political integrity, conviction and socialist authenticity, are Labour Party members (and ‘affiliated supporters’) really about to elect an anti-Semite to the Opposition frontbench of Parliament, and thereby release a plague of Jew-hating protocols and affirm hordes of Islamist-adoring votaries? Are they about to set free all those who seek any and every social or economic reason for believing the age-old Jewish conspiracy? Are they really intent on crippling the party which preaches the virtues of social justice, community cohesion and equality, in favour of a degenerative cult of anti-Zionist venom and “our friends from Hezbollah”?