Lord Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth has waded into the maelstrom currently engulfing Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Rabbi Sacks specifically referenced a speech that Corbyn gave in 2013, which the religious leader called, “the most offensive statement by a senior British politician since Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.” That speech, made by former Conservative politician Enoch Powell, decried Britain’s immigration policy of the day.
Sacks pulled no punches when he labeled Labour’s embattled leader “an anti-Semite,” who supports “racists, terrorists and dealers of hate who want to kill Jews and remove Israel from the map.” The Labour leader, Sacks said, uses “the language of classic pre-war European antisemitism.” The former chief rabbi was speaking in reference to almost an entire summer filled with video, written and pictorial evidence of Corbyn – who has been in his post for three years – consorting with terrorists. He has been shown sharing platforms with leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
“It was divisive, hateful and a like Powell’s speech, it undermines the existence of an entire group of British citizens by depicting them as essentially alien,” Sacks said in an interview with The New Statesman.
In the particular video to which Sacks took such exception, Corbyn, used a well-worn tactic of Leftist identity politics of replacing the word “Jew” with “Zionists.” In the speech made at the Palestinian Return Centre in London in 2013, Corbyn said of a group of British “Zionists:” “They clearly have two problems. One is they don’t want to study history and, secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either. They needed two lessons, which we could perhaps help them with.”
Jews were readmitted to Britain more than 350 years ago and have contributed to every facet of national life. “We know our history better than Mr Corbyn,” said Sacks “and we have learned that the hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. Mr Corbyn’s embrace of hate defiles our politics and demeans the country we love,” he concluded.
Despite calls for Corbyn to resign (he won’t by the way), the Labour leader has an almost cultish following. He practices identity politics, where the color of someone’s skin or the group to which they belong is more important than the content of their character. Corbyn will survive, but if he becomes Prime Minister – which is not out of the realms of possibility – it could lead to a situation where British Jews have to consider their futures.