Attacks on Corbyn for spending Passover with the ‘wrong’ Jews – and what they might mean


The last couple of weeks have seen the expression of the absolutely valid concerns of Jewish citizens. But there have also been other aspects to the antisemitism protests.

The political drivers of the uproar of the last couple of weeks were on show in the letter sent by two Jewish groups to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, demanding not only that Labour disciplinary processes be made accountable to two largely Tory-supporting groups – but also that Corbyn and Labour ostracise the left-wing group Jewish Voice for Labour.

Two largely right-wing Jewish groups tried to imstall themselves as arbiters of who is acceptably ‘mainstream’ and to treat Jewish people hold left-wing or pro-Palestine views as aberrant – and not valid partners in fighting antisemitism.

Corbyn and the ‘wrong’?! Jews

On Monday, the right-wing trash site Guido Fawkes tweeted a link to a vile article attacking Jeremy Corbyn for celebrating Passover with a different ‘wrong’ Jewish group – Jewdas:

fawkes jewdas.png

The article attacks left-wing group ‘Jewdas‘ for supposedly ‘viciously attack[ing] mainstream Jewish groups’, a skewed representation at best, but also ironic considering the attacks on the group – and on Corbyn for spending time with them – by ‘mainstream’ figures and their supporters following the Fawkes article.

Fawkes also neglected to mention that Jewdas consists entirely of Jews.

Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard piled in:

poll jdas.png

The idea that the fight against antisemitism has to exclude Jewish people with whom one disagrees is illuminating.

Jewish comedian and writer David Schneider – who has supported calls for dealing with antisemitism where it’s found in the Labour Party – encapsulated the wrongness of that worldview and the political motives involved in the attack on Corbyn in two pithy tweets:

schneider 1.png

Sadly, the arrogance of presuming to decide which Jews are good or bad wasn’t limited to Jewish commentators.

Labour First’s Luke Akehurst made a comment that earned him a stinging rebuke from a Jewish union activist:

la charl

Writer Alex Nunns spoke for many non-Jewish observers in his comment on the matter:

nunns confused.png

Labour MP Angela Smith – also not Jewish as far as we know – nonetheless felt as qualified to comment as Akehurst:


The non-Jewish (and questionably Labour) MP John Woodcock was another who felt entitled to referee the matter – and was taken down in elegantly brutal style by author Michael Rosen:

woodcock rosen


Yet, according to numerous online sources, the right-leaning Jewish Chronicle (JC) published an article titled “In Praise of Jewdas” – although the original seems to have been deleted from the paper’s site.

However, a still-extant Jewish Chronicle article published in 2014 – less fraught times, perhaps – found no issue in listing Jewdas as a Jewish organisation:

jc jd

Similarly, a 2011 JC article about commemorations of the antifascist ‘Battle of Cable Street’ lists Jewdas as among the Jewish groups in attendance, without feeling the need for further qualification other than using the adjective ‘alternative’:

jd cable.png

A 2010 JC article noted the group’s preparations for the festival of Sukkot without any qualification, simply calling Jewdas a ‘Jewish activism group’:

jc jd succot.png

In a related incident, Momentum founder Jon Lansman tweeted a short article written by Labour peer Lady Valerie Cocks, in which she described him as the worst of ‘Jewish enemies‘ – for being left-wing and for working toward a left-wing Labour Party:

jl lvclvc

The political aspects of recent attacks cannot be ignored by anyone who wants a rounded understanding of the events of the last ten days or so – and neither can the genuine, legitimate concerns about Jewish people about antisemitism wherever it exists.

Past mentions of Jewdas by an undoubtedly mainstream Jewish publication tend to suggest that Jeremy Corbyn spending Passover with Jewdas members would usually be unremarkable – which sheds a certain light on the condemnation of his decision now.

Usually. But perhaps not if Jewish people’s genuine concerns about antisemitism are being exploited by a small number of people for political purposes – a situation where Corbyn’s and Labour’s embrace of Jewish people is only considered valuable if they are the ‘right’ Jewish people, in more than one sense.

But Corbyn has done absolutely the right thing.

After all, where else should we expect to find Labour’s left-wing leader and lifelong champion of the marginalised than with with a group of left-wing Jews currently being marginalised?

As a statement of solidarity with all Jewish people – and of a refusal to be manipulated into political compromise – it’s perfect.

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  1. I don’t really understand all this Jewish stuff….but what I do know is that Jeremy Corbyn is a great bloke, a brilliant politician and will make a fantastic Prime Minister. #Jewdas How easily he has shown his opponents to be bigots.

  2. From a purely political perspective, Corbyn has made himself untouchable. The alternative would have been to decline, for which he would have been berated for refusing to attend a Passover celebration in his own constituency.

    If he had declined, we wouldn’t have seen the anti-semitic nature of the right of British politics.

    The man is absolutely untouchable. I’m gobsmacked.

  3. Is it just me, or is anyone else sick to death of all this utter nonsense.
    Pathetic attempts to oust Corbyn, which won’t succeed.

  4. Having abandoned any pretence of impartiality the increasingly ridiculous BBC news website leads on the anti semitism story for a fifth day. The piece is basically a number of quotes from the usual suspects (how does Woodcock still avoid suspension?) . Why though no assertive defence if not from Mr Corbyn then from some of his senior supporters. The same MPs are regularly quoted being critical so it should not be difficult to illustrate how so much of what is going on is politically motivated,but so much silence from so many prominent Corbyn supporters.

  5. KL may well have been correct but he was giving ammunition to the MSM and a largely ignorant readership of tabloids

    1. marty How could Ken have ever possibly imagined that a passing reference to an historical fact could lead to such an ‘outcry’, albeit completely bogus and contrived. You make it sound like it was Ken’s fault – ie the VICTIMS fault. Do me a favour……perleeeease!

    2. KL could have anticipated what actually happened, how the MSM would distort this. In a world of fake news, historical facts are open to reinterpretation, which is exactly what happened.

  6. When I referred to ‘his detractors’ in my post above, what I really meant to say was ALL those on the right of the LP who have been so vocal during the past couple of years or more about the ‘problem’ of anti-semitism on the left of the party AND since JC became leader. and also the likes of David Mellor and Michael Crick (more about THAT shortly).

    The point is of course that Ken was one of the first to be (falsely) accused of anti-semitism, AND the most high profile – ie the most well known associate and supporter of JC (and on reflection one can’t help but wonder if the interview with Vanessa Feltz was a set-up and, as such, the questioning was steered in a certain direction so as to elicit the response – more-or-less – that they wanted). And there is no doubt whatsoever that if it HADN’T been Ken that said it – or some other close associate and supporter of JC – and had been someone on the right of the LP, or someone from another party that said it, we would never have heard a dicky-bird about it, and it would have passed the world by for the complete non-event that it was.

    So as to emailing all those who have been so ready and willing to condemn JC and the left for this mostly non-existent anti-semitism with a link to said article, perhaps another idea (as well as emailing the ‘detractors’ ourselves as individuals) is for JVL and Jewdas (and whoever) to collectively email the article (or a link to it) to said people, and perhaps they – JVL and Jewdas and whoever – could also contact the other Jewish groups with connections to the LP AND The Board of Deputies of British Jews etc, to explain to them what they intend to do, and ask them if they would like to put their name to it.

    As for Mellor and Crick, check out this farce of an interview with Ken Livingstone sometime if you’ve never seen it:

  7. Wrong sort of Jew , right sort of Jew , BOD ( dominated by Tories) demanding to be judge jury and inquisitors over Labours handling of anti-Semitism ,,, We now appear to be entering the realm of true insanity.
    The point will be reached when the average Joe outside of the political ” bubble” will no longer take any of this seriously and to coin a crass euphemism ” grabs bag of pop corn and awaits next thrilling instalment of this soap opera.”
    Which is precisely the worst effect of this orchestrated politically motivated saga , it seriously damages the clarity of what is real and what is not .

    Excellent letter by Academics on the topic found here


    Remember it’s “get Corbyn no matter what the cost ”

    Next up Brexit / Gender / poor leadership/ round and round they go till the end of May elections no doubt ,,,,, all bets are off as it’s a dead cert !

    1. I checked out the article you linked to, and then ended up reading a couple of other related articles, the second of which – posted over a week ago – had a comments section, and there were several hundred comments, and dozens of them had been deleted. So anyway, I was reading through the comments, and I got to the bottom of the third page, and there was the following:

      Jeremy Corbyn is a stinking little lump of shit.

      And it had/has 43 Likes. I clicked on the Report icon, selected from the menu of categories, and then clicked on ‘Send’, but it just came up with a ‘Page 404’. I hate to think what the ones that WERE deleted were like! (the article was headlined The Guardian’s View on Labour and Anti-semitism).

      1. I abandoned The Guardian recently because of their hateful anti-Corbyn campaign over the last three years – just no end of smearing in article after article – all the usual suspects. The final straw was a particularly nasty piece from the Tory d’Ancona. And of course no comments allowed, mustn’t criticise their resident Tory. Same with the New Statesman – they treat “Labour anti-semitism problem” as an established fact with no scope for doubt/discussion. Both right-wing hate rags. Will never read either again.

  8. I am not Jewish so may be wrong here but most Jewish commentators appear to call the Passover event Seder,Ms Smith(no relation) has called it Seber. Given what an important festival this is I think if I were Jewish I would find that disrespectful.

  9. Let’s just focus our determined anger on crooked, hard right Labour, the following Tory criminals and their protectors in the media:

    “Thread. Long list of Tory Abuse, Fraud, Violence, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Sectarianism, Child Abuse, Manslaughter and much, much more. Recent cases and historic examples that show how ingrained the problem is.” via @trickyjabs


  10. Where was Mrs May at the Left wing Passover? She’s the PM and should be impartial to what ever Jewish side you side with. Where’s the outrage? It must be a shock to people that Jeremy Corbyn a LEFT WING politician went to a LEFT WING Jewish pass over. Shock! HORROR!

  11. I know what you mean Alan. The right wing zionists have led many people to actually go away and find out the truth that was hidden from them. It was like this during the 60’s. Many people travelled and worked in Kibbutzim thinking they were repaying Jews for the horror of European anti-semitism only to discover later they were working on farms stolen from the Palestinians. The truth is always more complicated than the black and white of the propagandists.

  12. At last, people are beginning to realise the depth of the problem i.e. all roads lead to the schism in the Jewish community and it’s impact upon the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish State.

    When Jeremy first became Leader, at various meeting I attended, John McDonnell received great applause when he said “at last we can mention Socialism”. It should also be the case that at last we can mention Zionism. For too long Socialist Jewish groups have been marginalised and vilified by Zionists, even called anti-Semites and ‘self hating Jews’ because they reject the concept of Zionism.

    Groups like the LFI and JLM under no circumstances want the spotlight to be placed upon Zionism for fear it will illuminate the evils within. Hence the reason for the all-out attacks on Jeremy.

  13. F*cking state of them. Petulant, whinin’ twunts.

    And as for that norman smith on bbc news this morning…almost looked ready to cream himself, the beaut.

  14. As for pollard…What an utter gobshite.

    Already made a public apology to Corbyn (although a paltry twitter one) for getting it completely wrong about not mentioning jews on holocaust memorial day.

    And nuggets like him tell us the best way of preventing ‘antisemitism’ is to ‘learn from history’? FFS. He hasn’t even learned from last January.

    How DO divs like that get jobs like his?? Oh, that’s right…

  15. Yes, like withTrump’s treatment of Muslim’s with his travel ban some human beings seem to treat groups of human beings (in this case Jewish citizens) as homogenous groups; when of course all groups of human beings have a wonderful diversity which I would suggest should be celebrated.
    I looked Jewdas up on Wikipedia and they sounded quite interesting.
    It could be suggested that Jewdas pose a threat to the human condition with their dangerous and subversive use of humour; I mean calling themselves Geoffrey Cohen when dealing with the media.
    I bet a real Geoffrey Cohen out there is offended or is dead chuffed!
    You have to laugh or else you would cry.

    1. Yes had an extra day off today so went for a nice swim.
      I did my extra leafleting for JeremyCorbyn’s Labour in the snow yesterday so deserved a break.
      Thought I would watch an old film so put on ‘Sparticus’.
      My favourite bit is towards the end when Tony Curtis stands up and says: “I am Geoffrey Cohen!” then another stands up and says “I’m Geoffrey Cohen!” then another then everyone stands up and says it.
      A great film but I think I buy my copy at a Left Wing Event!

  16. And WHY hasn’t woodcock F***ed off yet?

    Don’t threaten it, john….DO IT.

  17. As a Jew who opposes Israeli policy, I have long felt the suffering of the Jewish people has been exploited and manipulated for political purposes. But never have I felt as personally sullied by what has happened over the last 24 hours. By extension of what the media and politicians are now saying about Jeremy Corbyn observing Pesach with Jewish opponents of Israel, that means I personally must be “the wrong kind of Jew” as well.

    I spent long spells of my childhood being insulted for being a Jew of ANY kind, now I learn I must be insulted for being a particular kind of Jew. It won’t be long before people like myself are told we don’t ‘count’ as Jews because we support the Palestinians against Israeli oppression.

    I can’t describe how angry, hurt, powerless and exploited I feel.

  18. I found Alan Bullock’s ‘Hitler A Study in Tyranny’ really useful in informing my thinking.

  19. Perhaps this is what some may want Martin but we are all strong together as diverse working people and we are fully behind Jeremy.

  20. I’m not sure if you’ve done this already, but I took at quick ganders at the trustees of the Jewish Leadership Council, I wonder if you can see anything of a theme:


    Jonathan Goldstein (Chairman) – Founder and Chief Exec of commercial real-estate company. City lawyer & deputy CE of Heron International.
    Mark Adlerstone – Charirmain mid-to-high end jewellers company with over 50 stores.
    Jonathan Arkush – Barrister – property, commercial and probate law.
    Bill Benjamin – Global Head of Real Estate for a large asset management firm.
    Adrian Cohen – Partner of corporate bank. Lay Chair of Labour Friends of Israel.
    Debra Fox – (possibly ex) City solicitor, small online retailer.
    Leo Noe – Exec Chairman of a real estate partnership. Previous founder of an asset management company.
    Steven Lewis – Founder & senior partner in a commercial property investement practice.
    Edward Misrahi – Founder of an asset management company, ex-Goldman Sachs,
    Stephen Pack – Management Consultant, ex-director & head of risk at PWC.
    Gerald Ronson – Propery developer and businessman, Chief Exec of Heron International.
    Hilda Worth – Vice Chair of Conservative Friends of Israel. JP. Ex-drama teacher.

    1. There are two possible points you’re making with this – one’s fine, one might not be. What’s yours here, please?

  21. The Woodcock was on R4 tonight spouting bile. How on earth does he not get expelled!!!

  22. I’m a “LEFT” thinker, does that make me a wrong type?
    ANTISEMITISM and PREJUDICE is more on the “RIGHT” than the LEFT, just for those, who keep attacking JC!
    But they know this already.
    My long life has had many ups and downs, but not so many, as under this Tory Lying Government!
    In all honesty, I thought no Government could be worse than THATCHERS, how wrong was I?
    We the people, have never had a “True” Socialist Labour Government for the past 51 years, 21 before I could vote put those numbers together you have my age!
    In all that time I’ve voted Labour, hoping the next one would be better than the last!
    Not until now, do we have a Labour Left Leader that we can all trust!
    We’ve tried the rest now let us all try the “BEST”!
    For the Many, Not just the Few!

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