Updated: Apr 17, 2021
I wrote an article a few months ago on this very site about this very subject. It was titled, "Didn't Look," a quote from the leader of the UK opposition "I didn't look," he said, referring to a mural he had "liked," on facebook, which had been derided as antisemitic. Little did I, in my concern then, about his fence sitting, at best, complicit prejudice , at worst, think I would revisit this subject more concerned than before.
The rise in Europe, in antisemitic attacks, the increase online of antisemitic abuse, makes those of us who are concerned, more so. That which has engulfed the UK Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who is defended by his supporters, a storm of antisemitism, either denied or played down considerably by followers who are loyal to him, even as some vitriolic few of them, are as antisemitic as they are anti Israel, has gone way beyond any claims of exageration or misrepresentation, for , as so, before, on facebook, now, face to face, a man has been exposed.
It takes a lot for someone of moderate politics, and progressive too, and fair minded, to react to a brief interview on the television news. But what I saw tonight, I react to.
The media are covering the story , that a conference the Labour leader attended, which he claims was for peace, a few years ago, was followed by a ceremony that in effect was actually nothing of the sort. Jeremy Corbyn likes us to think, as so many politicians before him, that if you keep saying something which is one thing, is something else, we shall eventually believe it. A conference that was attended by leaders and founders of Hamas, which was all about Israeli aggression, was , I somehow doubt, a completely unbiased , peace, conference, as it was held at a centre in Tunisia, site of the former base of the PLO. But afterwards, the event featured a wreath laying, by only some attendees, at a graveyard which included those of terrorists who had been regarded as being those responsible for the torture and murder of the eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games, in 1972 . Corbyn attended both the conference and ceremony. He denied being involved at all in paying tribute to those terrorists. But tonight on television he was asked if he was a participant. He said . "I was present when it was laid, but I don't think I was actually involved."
Has the lack of responsibility of politicians got to this level ? Can someone who was considered by many to be a man of principle, be seen to be the sort of politician lacking principles, he cannot say whether or why he was in attendence at such an event?!
So many who at the worst moment in the history of the Jewish people he so offends, would defend their silence or compliance or attendence at the worst events in modern history, with words such as, " I was present...but I ...don't think ...I was actually involved."
Don't think this can be, if ignored by those who are, cultlike, followers of the said leader, forgotton by many of us who are fair and far indeed from being followers. It cannot. As with Trump, you can deny, you can say the words " fake news," but I heard the words said by Jeremy Corbyn tonight. And therefore, no amount of fence sitting, or more, tightrope walking, covering tracks, political dissembling, can make them go away. They are a hard act to follow.
Sir Peter Ustinov said, "There's nothing more exhilerating for a certain clot-like mentality, than the sound of boots marching all together - and your'e all part of the machine and it's wonderful. In point of fact, it's the isolated voice which can't even be heard in the crowd which is the most vtal of all."
Many who marched, in retrospect might have indeed said " I was present...but I ...don't think... I was actually involved." Quieter voices, other than the seemingly disengenuous one, of the leader of the UK Labour party need to be heard.
Author : Lorenzo Cherin