Before providing examples of Guardian op-eds, cartoons and letters that obfuscated, covered for or excused Jeremy Corbyn’s well documented record of aiding, abetting and, at times, personally engaging in antisemitism, let’s begin with some numbers:
- 87 – The percentage of British Jews who believe Corbyn is personally antisemitic.
- 47 – The percentage of British Jews who would have seriously considered leaving the UK if Corbyn became prime minister.
- 6 – The percentage of Jewish voters who said they would even consider voting for Corbyn.
- 39 – The percentage of all Britons who believe Corbyn is antisemitic.
- 1 – The number of British political parties, other than Corbyn’s Labour, that have been investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission – the public body responsible for the enforcement of non-discrimination laws in England, Scotland and Wales – for institutional racism. (That other party was the far-right British National Party)
In February, the Guardian published a letter, signed by 200 Jews, claiming that Corbyn is an ally in the fight against antisemitism.
In July, the Guardian published a letter defending former MP Chris Williamson, and Corbyn’s Labour Party more broadly, against ‘charges’ of antisemitism, punitively signed by 100 Jews. However, some of those signatories weren’t Jewish, and some had engaged in antisemitism. Responding to criticism, the Guardian later retracted the letter, citing “errors in the list of signatories”.
In July, the Guardian also published a series cartoons by their long-time cartoonist Steve Bell which mocked and belittled charges of antisemitism in the Labour Party, suggesting the accusations were nothing more than a witch-hunt. One of the cartoons in the series (which the Guardian didn’t publish, but was posted on Bell’s own website) evoked a classic antisemitic trope by suggesting that Boris Johnson and Donald Trump were being controlled, like puppets, by Israel’s prime minister.
In November, the Guardian published another letter by British Jews condemning what they claim is “evidence-free” accusations of antisemitism against Corbyn.
A day before the Dec. 12th elections, the Guardian endorsed Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister, describing him as “not perfect”, but “progressive”. Here’s the relevant passage:
Labour seeks to undo the damage begun by Margaret Thatcher 40 years ago and to replace it with a more social democratic Britain. The country would be the better for that. But Mr Corbyn’s factionalism, his lack of a campaign narrative and his repeated overpromising has seen him struggle to persuade enough voters his plan is achievable. Mr Corbyn’s own unpopularity could also scupper Labour in this election. His obdurate handling of the antisemitism crisis has disrupted the message of hope. Anything less than zero tolerance against racism tarnishes Labour’s credentials as an anti-racist organisation. The pain and hurt within the Jewish community, and the damage to Labour, are undeniable and shaming. Yet Labour remains indispensable to progressive politics.
A week after the election, the Guardian published an op-ed which suggested that antisemitism charges against Jeremy Corbyn were untrue, and cynically designed to stifle debate about Israel.