Jeremy Corbyn’s abject failure to deal with anti-Semitism within his party has helped spark Britain’s biggest political split in 40 years.
And one of his MPs has even suggested that Israel could have funded the resignation of seven Labour MPs, which has since swelled to eight. Ruth George made the comment on Facebook before withdrawing it with ‘unreserved’ apologies, saying she had no intention of “invoking a conspiracy theory”.
Meanwhile the Jewish Labour Movement also threatened to quit the party. Wes Streeting, a Labour MP and vice-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Jews, warned that such a move “would be a nail in the coffin for the Labour Party itself”.
The so-called ‘Gang of Seven’ – joined on Wednesday by Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan – said they were ashamed of Mr Corbyn’s leadership, condemning his handling of Brexit and anti-Semitism.
Luciana Berger, the heavily-pregnant Jewish MP who had been subjected to death threats requiring bodyguards at last year’s party conference, said she could no longer remain in a party that was “institutionally anti-Semitic”.
But the hiatus is as much about the vexed issue of Brexit as anything else, which makes the future even less certain for bewildered British voters.
The MPs, who have formed a new Independent Group already bolstered by several disaffected members of the ruling Conservative Party, appear to be represented by some ardent ‘Remainers’ (those who wish to maintain close bonds with Europe) whose issue with Mr Corbyn was at least as much about his leadership on this issue as it was over
So while initially perceived as an opportunity for Theresa May to consolidate her negotiating position with Brussels, it now looks like leaving the British political ship stranded in troubled waters with diminishing hopes of finding a safe harbour.
A quickly conducted poll suggests the new group could become very popular. If so, it may stir up fresh waves of EU support that could leave both Parliament and the people more confused – and frustrated – than ever.
Certainly, the reputation of politicians is at an all-time low, but at least this breakaway movement offers the apparent consolation that there are still men and women of principle who are prepared to stand up to the bullies.
And in the sense that these resignations are likely to prove a death-blow to Mr Corbyn’s hopes of becoming Prime Minister, they have done us all a favour.
But the winds of change are blowing dangerously strong across these isles, and we need to batten down the hatches in anticipation of a very choppy crossing to calmer seas and national stability.
As for Ms Berger, leaving the party has obviously been a painful decision for her – she is the great-niece of Manny Shinwell, a much-loved major figure of the Labour Party who was a member of the Attlee government in the immediate post-war era.
But there is a sense of déjà vu about her departure as Shinwell resigned the Labour whip in 1982 for similar reasons – in protest against hard-left infiltration by the Trotskyite Militant Tendency. And Momentum, Militant’s apparent successor, is behind the bullying culture that has led to Ms Berger’s break with the party.
However, with reference to the 17.4 million people who voted for Britain to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn makes the telling point: “If most Labour MPs had displayed the same kind of resilience standing up against Momentum as they have in resisting the popular vote for Brexit, Corbyn would be long gone by now.”
The esteemed journalist also pointed out that he had made a TV documentary exposing anti-Semitism in the Labour Party 12 years ago, long before Corbyn came to prominence, and that “most Labour MPs I approached for comment didn’t want to know”.
Meanwhile Part II of the Mail on Sunday’s serialisation of an explosive new book on Corbyn – Dangerous Hero, published this week by William Collins – exposes further highly damaging instances of the Labour leader’s ruthless push for power.
Tracing the roots of Corbyn’s view of the Jews, author Tom Bower writes: “Since he disdained materialism, culture and anything spiritual, he was an empty vessel, uneasy with a race complicated by its history of survival over 2,000 years of persecution.
“Jews in London were the victims of discrimination by all classes, including the working class – a truth that did not quite fit Corbyn’s Marxist theory of history.”
He adds: “The truth is that Corbyn’s antagonism towards Zionism is one of the most consistent – and toxic – lines of his career. To him, Jews aren’t victims of racism and oppression but rather racist oppressors themselves.”
And Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard writes in the same paper: “As this devastating biography shows, supporting terrorists who want to murder Jews and allying with the most rancid anti-Semites n Britain has been a lifelong obsession for Mr Corbyn.”
The only way to ensure survival amidst all the hatred and division we are witnessing is for the country to turn back to the God who saved us from disaster at Dunkirk. But that only happened after our leaders acknowledged our peril without His help by calling for national prayer.
He can – and will – do it again if we humble ourselves before Him, seeking his forgiveness for our wilful rebellion against his ways.
The nation as a whole has forsaken faith in Jesus, the “chosen and precious cornerstone” of our civilization which, when removed, causes the structure of society to collapse into a heap of rubble. (1 Peter 2.6, Isaiah 28.16)
The Scriptures explain that this capstone would be laid in Zion (i.e. Jerusalem/Israel) “and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame”. And while this vital stone is ‘precious’ to believers, it also causes men to stumble and fall (1 Peter 2.8, Isa 8.14) “because they disobey the message”.
I’m sure Jesus weeps over London as he wept over Jerusalem when he said: “If you…had only known on this day what would bring you peace…” (Luke 19.42)
Peace amidst the tempest is found only on the rock of Christ, the Jewish Messiah, who stilled the storm on Galilee with a word. Or as someone commented on this site, “Peace is not complicated when you follow the Prince of Peace.”
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; and A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International