Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is playing with fire over his mixed messages on Israel.
He denies being anti-Semitic while at the same time openly supporting a terrorist group committed to wiping Israel off the map.
Meanwhile his party continues to be embroiled in controversy over anti-Semitism with a police investigation now underway over allegations of “anti-Semitic hate crimes”.
Mr Corbyn reacted sympathetically to the Pittsburgh massacre, though a Labour Party branch in the north of England voted down a motion condemning it after members criticised that there was too much emphasis on “anti-Semitism this, anti-Semitism that”.
A Manchester-based Times of Israel blogger, commenting on Corbyn’s apparent compassion, said he believes it is because the attacker is a white supremacist rather than an Arab shouting ‘Allah Akbar’.
Solicitor Robert Festenstein wrote that the shootings in America, which left eleven dead and six wounded, reminded him of a visit three years ago to a friend’s Jerusalem synagogue where, the previous year, two men had run in one morning with guns and knives and killed four congregants.
He was particularly struck by Mr Corbyn’s tweet on the latest tragedy: “My thoughts are with those killed or injured in this horrific act of anti-Semitic violence, and with their loved ones. We must stand together against hate and terror.”
Festenstein wrote: “This was the first time I had heard him make any comment about any incident concerning attacks on Jews where he expressed a specific opinion and furthermore some support. At which point the penny dropped.
“My Corbyn, when he speaks of fighting anti-Semitism, is being mischievous, at best. It appears that he is deliberately misleading his listeners. He is not interested, as I am, in the identity of the victim. His motivation and those of his supporters…is based on the identity of the perpetrator.
“In other words, he is at the outset only interested in the person who pulled the trigger. In his world, therefore, and those of his supporters, it appears that a Jew can only be a victim of anti-Semitism if their attacker is white and crucially a neo-Nazi or white supremacist.
“If, though, the attacker is not white and is left wing, the attack cannot possibly be anti-Semitic…
“Here in the UK, the writing is not only on the wall about the risks of a Labour Government; it is in letters of fire. What Mr Corbyn has now made perfectly clear is that he will not protect the Jewish citizens of this country if they are attacked by anyone other than a white neo-Nazi. Since the threats against us are mostly from the left, including from some members of Mr Corbyn’s party, we will not be safe if he becomes Prime Minister.”
It is by now well known that Mr Corbyn once referred to Hezbollah and Hamas as ‘friends’, but few will be aware that, when making that comment, he went on to say that labelling Hamas as a terrorist organisation was “really a big, big, historical mistake”.
Hamas, he declared, were dedicated to a peaceful solution! Yet they have openly, and consistently, vowed to destroy Israel and ‘reclaim’ all the territory “from the river to the sea”, as their slogan goes – a mantra also heard at this year’s Labour Party conference.
So he is trying to convince all who will listen (which includes a vast swathe of our young people) that Hamas and Hezbollah are people with whom we should be negotiating for peace – because they are purportedly interested in peace; though of course there is scant evidence of this.
Neville Chamberlain tried to persuade the British Parliament – and public – that Hitler was interested in peace. But he was playing with fire. And 50 million people died in the fallout, a tally which included the unspeakable murder of six million Jewish civilians.
Claiming that Hamas are interested in peace clearly amounts to playing with fire – quite literally – as we have seen for the past seven months on the Gaza border, where protestors have engaged in murderous mayhem as they vent their fury with kite and balloon firebombs and Molotov cocktails while, behind them, Hamas keep up their constant volley of rockets into southern Israel.
(This was even replicated in New York last Friday where an arsonist attacked Jewish schools and synagogues at seven different locations while ‘Kill all the Jews’ graffiti was found daubed elsewhere.)
As I write this on November 5th, when we give thanks for the uncovering of a religiously-motivated plot to blow up Parliament, it seems that Mr Corbyn is engaged in something even more sinister – support for those who want to destroy Israel, the very source of our civilization.
It is paramount that we don’t get too close to the fire, as I was reminded yesterday on our return from a weekend away when, after running the gauntlet of rocket fire down the half-mile stretch of our road before turning into our drive, I saw what looked like a house on fire nearby and promptly dialed 999.
It turned out neighbours were ‘enjoying’ a bonfire right beside a half-completed house, with huge flames appearing to lick the exposed wooden beams of the roof. The Fire Brigade paid a visit, and the bonfire was soon snuffed out.
And yet, while fire destroys, it can also turn the wheels of industry; it can even be redemptive and is among the symbols of the Holy Spirit. When Elijah called down fire in his great contest with the false prophets on Mt Carmel, it burnt up the sacrifice and sparked a turning back to the God of Israel. (1 Kings 18)
The devil wants to destroy Israel and the Jewish people, but the Lord “whose fire is in Zion, whose furnace is in Jerusalem” is more than a match for his enemies (Isa 31.9; see also Zech 2.5).
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. (Psalm 122.6)
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