Jews and Jeremy Corbyn

August 21, 2015
Sarah Benton

Letters from Jews about Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism claims

Letters published in Guardian August 21st, 2015

We are horrified by the McCarthyite techniques being deployed to smear a prominent critic of Israeli policy. The approach is familiar. Attack the person not their political views and ignore their record. Fish for scraps of past contact with somebody controversial or in any way questionable, regardless of the political context of the contact, how long ago it was or how brief – then damn by association. Above all, reinforce the message that opponents of Israeli policy must be antisemites.

Thus, while Tony Blair can meet Hamas with impunity, Corbyn’s discussions with the same organisation are castigated. Though many donated to Deir Yassin Remembered, to honour a Palestinian village destroyed by Israeli forces in 1948, only Corbyn is attacked for failing to have known that DYR had been taken over by Holocaust deniers.

We take no position regarding the Labour Party leadership contest. However, we deduce that the use – and serious abuse – of accusations of antisemitism and the like is evidence of panic that someone who stands up for Palestinian rights might end up leading a major British political party.

Naomi Wayne
Jews for Justice for Palestinians

Letter to Guardian, Tony Greenstein et al
August 20, 2015

You report that the Jewish Chronicle claims to speak for the vast majority of British Jews in opposing Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader (Jewish Chronicle accuses Corbyn of associating with Holocaust deniers, 13 August). The JC certainly doesn’t represent progressive British Jewry. Corbyn has an outstanding record of opposing racism, including antisemitism in all its forms. He was particularly prominent in the campaign against apartheid in South Africa. He has consistently supported oppressed peoples such as the Kurds and the Palestinians.

The allegation that Corbyn supports or associates with Holocaust deniers is malicious and unfounded. It is based on an article in the Daily Mail, which was dependent on the word of a self-confessed Holocaust denier, Paul Eisen. The JC reports him as saying that Corbyn donated to Deir Yassin Remembered. So did many people, before DYR was taken over by antisemites and Holocaust deniers. The JC’s efforts to paint Corbyn as a closet antisemite can only help legitimise those who are antisemitic.

Tony Greenstein
* Graham Bash
* Rica Bird
* Prof Haim Bresheeth
* Mike Cushman
* Tom Eisner
* Deborah Fink
Kenneth Fryde
* Lynda Gilbert
* Abe Hayeem
* Rosamine Hayeem
* Paul Kaufman
* Richard Kuper
* Rachel Lever
Dr Les Levidow
* Deborah Maccoby
* Miriam Margolyes
* Beryl Maizels
* Diana Neslen
* Dr Daniel Ozarow
Prof Ilan Pappe
Roland Rance
Valerie Remy
* Frances Rifkin
* Dr Brian Robinson
* Mike Rosen
* Prof Jonathan Rosenhead
* Brian Rotman
Ben Samuel
* Prof Avi Shlaim
* Glyn Secker
Inbar Tamari
* Naomi Wimborne Idrissi
* Devra Wiseman

*= JfJfP signatories

Guardian letters
August 20, 2015

I totally reject the suggestion that Deir Yassin Remembered organisation could be regarded as a group whose membership is largely composed of Holocaust deniers. As an Israeli human rights activist ,whose grandparents perished in the Holocaust, I strongly believe that the massacre in Deir Yassin and the narrative of the Palestinian people should not be wiped out of history. DYR is commemorative body which is supported by members of civil society all over the world. I hope that the public, including the Jewish community, will support the important work and aims of DYR as well as backing Jeremy Corbyn and his vision of a fairer society.
* Ruth Tenne

Guardian letter, published August 20th, 2015
We are accustomed to reading letters in the Guardian from Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Ken Loach et al, replete with trenchant criticism of Israel. When can we expect protests from them about the dreadful loss of civilian life in Syria so vividly described by Martin Chulov (Report, 18 August)?
Jeremy Beecham
Labour, House of Lords

Letter to Guardian from Richard Kuper, JfJfP
August 21, 2015

Lord Beecham is disingenuous (why does Jews for Justice for Palestinians not condemn the dreadful loss of civilian life in Syria, Guardian 20 Aug). We are an organisation for justice for Palestinians and as such report and intervene on issues concerning Palestinians – as we did last year when Palestinian refugees in Syria were suffering particularly terribly. As individuals, many of our signatories are actively concerned with many other issues of human suffering and injustice around the world, but our organisational remit is limited. Is that not allowed?

While we are on the topic, it would be good to see Lord Beecham campaigning publicly to persuade the government of Israel to do its fair share in taking in refugees from the appalling meltdown in Syria. We understand it has accepted no refugees displaced by the conflict. Perhaps he would wish to support a call to open up the occupied Syrian Golan Heights in the first instance…

Richard Kuper

Jeremy Corbyn

Letters, Guardian
August 20, 2015

We write as members of a Jewish family, current and former constituents of Jeremy Corbyn. The accusations of antisemitism are, of course, political manipulations (Corbyn faces questions over meeting with alleged extremist, 20 August). Influential sections of the Jewish community, maybe guided by their Israeli contacts, are frightened that a notable critic of Israel’s policies and actions might attain a position of prominence in British politics. There are two background issues to which we would like to draw attention, aside from joining in the increasing number of Jews who say, of Israel’s behaviour, “not in our name”. The first is that the hysterical pressure to desist on anyone who wants to talk to Hamas and Hezbollah has been destructive to the prospects of peace. The second is that the repeated conflation of anti-Zionism and antisemitism is no accident. It is done quite consciously.

Lydia, Joel and Andrew Samuels


Comment by *JfJfP postings editor

August 20, 2015

The answer to Lord Beecham’s question is, from the point of view of Jews for Justice for Palestine, probably never. The answer is in our name and our founding statement, below and  on our website. Where Palestinians are being treated unjustly we try to cover it on this website, eg many reports over the last few years of the mistreatment of Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp, Syria, the most recent yesterday,
Typhoid enters the ‘the lowest reaches of hell’

Only the UN and CIA have the brief, and the resources, to examine all injustices around the world.

JfJfP signatories are united by two issues only:

1) the harsh and discriminatory treatment of Palestinians, conducted in the name of all Jews in what was once Palestinian land, transgresses international law and imposes intolerable humiliation and hardship on Palestinians;

2) The belief, even among the irreligious, that Israeli treatment of Palestinians transgresses Judaic principles as well as the principles of international human rights.

JfJfP’s statement of principles:


  • Lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians requires justice, mutual recognition and respect.
  • Peace requires ending Israel’s illegal occupation and settlement of Palestinian land, including its illegal blockade of Gaza.
  • Peace requires Israel to acknowledge its responsibility in the creation of the Palestinian refugees, and its obligation to negotiate a just, fair and practical resolution of the issue.
  • Violence against civilians, no matter who commits it, is unacceptable.
  • Israel’s repressive policies in the West Bank and Gaza are breeding hatred and resentment.
  • Israel’s discrimination against its Palestinian citizens is unacceptable.
  • It is crucial that Jews speak out for Palestinians’ human rights.
  • The humanitarian values of Judaism have been corrupted by the Israeli state’s abuses of human rights.
  • Britain, the EU, the USA, Russia and the UN must be persuaded to implement UN resolutions on Palestine.
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