by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
Irene Kuruc co-authored this article
Corbyn picks and chooses what he is wiling to apologize for. Also what he refuses to apologize for.
Jeremy Corbyn is probably Israel’s leading enemy in Western Europe’s political mainstream. Therefore, we should try to analyze his behavior as much as we can. One aspect of this is Corbyn’s occasional apologies for past statements and acts. This, however, only happens when he is pressed.
Once one begins to analyze his excuses, one realizes that they only concern a small part of his malice. Understanding what he claims to regret, shows how Corbyn chooses what he does not want to be identified with.
What he does not apologize for, even under pressure, shows how deep many of his despicable feelings and opinions run. A few examples will illustrate these findings.
A long series of quotations and actions demonstrate that Corbyn is a terrorist sympathizer, supporter of Holocaust distorters, an anti-Israel inciter and part-time anti-Semite.
Part of how Corbyn does not want to be seen can be gleaned from a BBC interview this September conducted by Andrew Marr. The interviewer asked the Labour leader whether he was an anti-Semite. Corbyn answered “absolutely not” and added that he was opposed to racism.
In line with that attitude were Corbyn’s apologies for his backing of an anti-Semitic mural in 2012 on an east-London street. Created by street artist Mear One, the mural depicted a group of Jewish financiers and white businessmen playing a Monopoly-style game on a board balanced on the backs of people. When attacked for his backing in 2018, Corbyn said: “I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic. I wholeheartedly support its removal.”
In 2010, as a backbencher, MP Corbyn hosted a meeting in parliament on Holocaust Memorial Day. The main speaker was Netherlands’ -- since deceased -- best-known Jewish anti-Semite, Hajo Meyer. During his speech, Meyer compared the Israeli actions in Gaza to the genocide of Jews in the Holocaust numerous times.
This apparently neither bothered Corbyn at the time or thereafter. When this was published in 2018, the Labour leader released the following response: “Views were expressed at the meeting which I do not accept or condone. In the past, in pursuit of justice for the Palestinian people and peace in Israel/Palestine, I have on occasion appeared on platforms with people whose views I completely reject. I apologize for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused.”
Occasionally Corbyn apologizes for anti-Semitic developments in Labour. In March 2018, he put on Facebook: “We recognize that anti-Semitism has occurred in pockets within the Labour Party, causing pain and hurt to our Jewish community in the Labour Party and the rest of the country. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused.”
He added “Labour is an anti-racist party and I utterly condemn anti-Semitism, which is why as leader of the Labour Party I want to be clear that I will not tolerate any form of anti-Semitism that exists in and around our movement.”
Ahead of a meeting with Jewish leaders in April this year, Corbyn said that his party had “not done enough” to tackle the problem. He also admitted that Labour’s protocol for dealing with anti-Jewish abuse was “not fully fit for purpose”.
This past August, there was more of the same. Corbyn apologized again for the hurt inflicted on Jewish people by Labour's anti-Semitic expressions.. He vowed to speed up the processing of scores of disciplinary cases. In a video message released on social media, Corbyn, said that working with the trust was a “vital priority.”
In contrast, Corbyn is far more reluctant to distance himself from his obvious sympathy for terrorists. In 2009, he invited members from Hamas and Hezbollah to Parliament and called them his friends. He also called terrorists his brothers.
In May 2016, in Parliament, then Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, asked Corbyn four times to withdraw his remarks relating to Hamas and Hezbollah. He said about the Labour leader: "He referred to Hamas and Hezbollah - are they your friends or not? Because those organizations in their constitutions believe in persecuting and killing Jews. They are anti-Semitic organizations, they are racist organizations. He must stand up and say they are not his friends."
Pro-Labour daily, The Guardian, summarized the Labour leader's reaction; “Corbyn repeatedly responded by saying Labour was an anti-racist party that would not tolerate anti-Semitism, but failed to directly withdraw his previous comments about Hamas and Hezbollah. Instead, he said that he did not approve of either organization, adding: “Anyone who commits racist acts or is anti-Semitic is not a friend of mine.”
The Daily Mail revealed that Corbyn when visiting Tunisia in 2014, was carrying a memorial wreath in his hand near the graves of terror leaders linked to the murderous terror attack on Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. When that was published, Corbyn did not apologize and the party tried to wriggle out of what the paper had exposed.
Corbyn was asked to apologize by Labour MP Luciana Berger for paying his respects to fallen terrorists in Tunisia. He told reporters: "No I am not apologizing for being there at all."
In summation: the leader of Labour, which according to polls, has a serious chance of winning the next parliamentary election, does not want to be portrayed as an anti-Semite. Yet, he does not seem to mind that his sympathy for terror organizations and terrorists is perceived as such.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has been a long-term adviser on strategy issues to the boards of several major multinational corporations in Europe and North America.He is board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recipient of the LIfetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
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