Jews Challenge Corbyn
The silver lining in the Corbyn scandal is a fresh coming together of Jews and Christians in common cause
Extraordinary contradictions and ironies are accompanying the inexorable rise of worldwide anti-Semitic activity which is also now a focus of the British General Election.
The latest news is that Jeremy Corbyn, already facing a barrage of bullets fired from his own party members over this issue, is being challenged in his own London constituency by an Orthodox Jew, standing for the Brexit Party.
Yosef David, a social worker for a large Jewish charity, is fighting the Islington North seat held by the Labour leader in 2017 with a 30,000-plus majority. He acknowledges that overturning it, even in the face of Mr Corbyn’s growing unpopularity, would be a miracle, but said he was “highlighting the impact of the anti-Semitism epidemic in the Labour Party on the community”.
I also know of a Messianic Jew, Nick Szkiler, standing for the Brexit Party in York Central.
On Monday this week, a young Jewish woman, Hannah Kaufman, confronted Mr Corbyn over her concerns that Labour is ‘for the many, but not the Jew’ – adapting the Labour slogan ‘for the many, not the few’, Mr Corbyn effectively denied the suggestion.
Two female Jewish MPs, Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman, left the party after facing anti-Semitic abuse.
It has further emerged that a number of candidates standing for Labour have in recent years publicly, and savagely, condemned Mr Corbyn, calling for his resignation and declaring that he is not fit to be Prime Minister.
Why then, one may well ask, are they now happy to help him into No 10 Downing Street?
It has also emerged that among the 17 backbench MPs who, 18 years ago, voted against proscribing some of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups (including Hamas and Al-Qaeda) were Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott who have since moved from the fringes of politics to the mainstream, seeking to be PM, Chancellor and Home Secretary respectively.
Writing in the Daily Mail, former Labour minister and Labour Friends of Israel honorary president Joan Ryan, referring to Mr Corbyn and his “clique of Marxists and Trotskyites”, said: “The prospect of these individuals getting into Downing Street is truly frightening, and a danger the likes of which this country has not experienced in modern times.”
She added: “Corbyn would abandon our allies, appease our enemies and pursue a reckless foreign policy driven by his Far-Left prejudices.”
Against this background, and with relatively new ‘hate speech’ laws apparently toothless, anti-Israel protesters on the streets of London have been heard screaming death threats at Jews in Arabic.
Warwick students protested this week against a visiting speaker from Israel, citing apartheid and Islamophobia as reasons. Ironically, retired army officer Lt Col Eyal Dror was there to report on how the Israeli Defence Force is helping Syrian refugees.
PM Boris Johnson, meanwhile, who called the winter election to try to establish sufficient clear water to enable us to break free from the EU, has acknowledged the appalling rise in anti-Semitic attacks within Britain and has vowed to take additional steps to protect the UK Jewish community.
Anti-Semitic incidents have almost doubled in the UK since 2015.
Mr Johnson has also taken on former Labour MP John Mann as his new independent anti-Semitism adviser. Lord Mann, a tireless campaigner and popular MP for our neighbouring constituency in north Nottinghamshire, is among several Labour MPs and many party members who have left over anti-Semitic concerns.
Over in South Africa, where the government has held fast to a vigorous anti-Israel stance for some time, its President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has recently expressed the hope – in addressing business leaders in Johannesburg – that his nation can emulate Israel’s approach to economics and technology.
But the reality is that, at Durban in 2001, the country launched the diabolical Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which has since circled the globe with its poisonous tentacles.
It has even infiltrated mainline church denominations there, namely the Anglicans and Methodists, which have now passed resolutions strongly denouncing the Jewish state, having successfully swallowed – hook, line and sinker – the vile propaganda which compares Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians with apartheid-era South Africa. This has been rightly described by those who know better as an insult to the real victims of apartheid.
A CMJ (Church’s Ministry among the Jewish people) colleague of mine in Cape Town, Edith Sher, said: “When the church climbs into bed with such deceitful groups as the BDS, it only serves to drive a wedge between Jesus and the Jewish people.”
But this is not the true face of their Messiah we desire to show the Jewish community.
As Edith told me just this week, she was recently much encouraged when a visiting speaker urged the South African church to make its voice heard about the true nature of the Middle East conflict.
“Several representatives of Jewish organizations were present as invited guests and, when the worship leader launched into a rendition of the song I danced as David danced, the Jewish contingent joined hands with Christian leaders and danced the hora (Jewish wedding dance).
“To me it was a prophetic picture, something I would never have witnessed some years ago. God is at work to break down barriers in spite of the enemy’s worst efforts.”
The Bible says: “For he (Christ) himself is our peace, who has made the two groups (Jew and Gentile) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…to reconcile both of them to God through the cross…” (Ephesians 2.14 &16)
Jesus shed his blood to reconcile us – both to God and each other.
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