One of three newspapers to coordinate ‘existential threat’ front page publishes column praising Corbyn’s record of support for Jewish community initiatives – and describes him as clear ‘Prime Minister in waiting’
In July last year, three Jewish newspapers coordinated a front page describing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as an ‘existential threat’ to the UK’s Jewish communities.
In a remarkable turnabout, one of them has today published a column praising Corbyn’s “impressive, demonstrable record” of commitment to Jewish communities – and hailing him as the UK’s likely next Prime Minister.
Geoffrey Alderman is a well-known professor of history who received an award from the University of Oxford for his work on Anglo-Jewish history and who writes a fortnightly column for the Jewish Telegraph. The Telegraph announced his agreement to write the column in 2016, saying it was “thrilled and excited” that he had agreed to do so.
Alderman’s latest piece was published today:
Alderman’s article is not uncritical of the Labour Party – he clearly disagrees with the party on a number of issues – but he believes that Corbyn is highly likely to become the UK’s next leader – and is dismissive of claims that the party or its leadership represents any threat:
ln spite of numerous scare stories. I honestly can’t see such a [Labour] government banning shechita [kosher butchering of livestock] or brit mila [circumcision]. If Diane Abbott. currently Shadow Home Secretary, found herself actually in charge of the Home Office, would she outrage her many charedi [Orthodox Jewish] constituents by closing down synagogues and moving to deprive Jews of the rights of British citizenship?
Of course not.
Alderman goes on to frankly assess Corbyn’s record of work on behalf of Jewish communities:
As a matter of fact, Jeremy Corbyn has an impressive demonstrable record of supporting Jewish communal initiatives.
In 2010, he put his name to an Early Day Motion — tabled by Diane Abbott in the Commons — calling on the UK government to facilitate the settlement of Yemeni Jews in Britain.
He was supportive of Jewish efforts to facilitate the speedy issue of death certificates by the North London coroner.
In June, 2015, he took part in a ceremony in his Islington constituency to commemorate the original site of the North London Synagogue.
The professor also points out what he considers a Tory ‘act of betrayal’ and the lack of response by some community leaders:
And let’s remember that on December 23, 2016, in the dying days of the Obama-led administration, a UN Security Council resolution condemning in the most explicit terms Jewish control of the West Bank and east Jerusalem — including the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and the Western Wall — was adopted with the full-hearted consent and approbation of Theresa May and her tactless Foreign Secretary, one Boris Johnson.
The Tory-controlled UK government could have abstained. It could even have exercised its veto. It chose to do neither.
Reacting to that act of betrayal, I outlined in this column on January 13, 2017, a number of concrete measures that those who order the affairs of British Jewry might have taken to signal the community’s anger.
I suggested that May and Johnson could be disinvited from all communal events, and that Jewish groups should withdraw from co-operation with May’s government — for instance over security issues and the anti-terrorism “Prevent” agenda.
A communal macher took me aside and pointed out that these bold suggestions would never be acted upon
A single article does not, of course, necessarily signal a complete change of editorial direction – but the publication of this article is a striking contrast to last year’s front page, which the Telegraph shared with two other publications to attack Corbyn as a threat.
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