Think Of Us: A British-Jew’s Plea Before the General Election

Joe Glick 9 December 2019
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

I believe it is time to speak out.

Impelled to write out of fear, I pen not a political post but a call for us to question our values. Though I may not believe I can make a difference, I do feel that I have a duty to stand up.

For the Many not the Few. Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign slogan in 2017 powerfully set him out as a man representing those without a voice. Yet, who are these “few” for whom he proclaims not to stand?

It is indicative of the scale of the problem that I no longer see it necessary to expound the litany of anti-Semitic abuses. Instead I refer to the recent comments by the Chief Rabbi and Archbishop of Canterbury.

I am not endorsing any political party.

Simply, I implore you to reconsider a vote for Labour and thus a vote for Corbyn, a man who simultaneously avows to having dedicated his life to fighting racism while allowing it to fester within his own party. This is a man who repeatedly failed to apologise for anti-Semitism on his most recent Andrew Neil interview. This is a man who, when deciding whether it was in fact anti-Semitic to spread age-old Rothschild Zionist conspiracy theories, equivocated and excused disciplinary proceedings taking over a year.

No form of prejudice, discrimination or racism should be tolerated in our politics.

I would hope that to be a maxim common to all yet I fear it is not. It appears the diehard Corbynistas are able to overlook racism in their support of an anti-Semite. Among their justifications, I hear pleas to divorce a person’s personal views and character from their policies. Did we do that for Donald Trump and his sexism? For Mike Pence or Tim Farron on their dubious views on homosexuality?

In your mind’s eye, you may be able to separate the two but your vote does not discriminate. Jeremy Corbyn’s racist views, the new institutionally anti-Semitic Labour party and the Opposition’s policy proposals must be seen as quintessentially intertwined. A vote for Labour is a vote to countenance racism.

It’s time for real change, is Corbyn’s 2019 slogan.

Is the change our country needs a regression to a frightening era where racism was not only tolerated but given a platform and endorsed?

Just 74 years after the Holocaust are we already forgetting the systematic attempt to annihilate an entire people that resulted in the slaughter of 6 million Jews?

I cannot forget, nor can my Jewish family, nor can my Jewish friends. We still feel the pain of lost ancestors and that is a pain that will never wane. The 27th of January every year Holocaust Memorial Day, a day that Corbyn and McDonnell have seen fit to rename, aims to remind us all of that hurt.

I am not suggesting electing Corbyn will lead to ethnic cleansing. Rather, I am proud of the progress we have made and I am simply scared that it could stop. I like to think that we are a country based on liberal progressive values but what message would it send for Britain to elect a racist?

One thing we are never taught in school is how to vote. Specifically, which values we ought to look for in our leaders and how we must prioritise them. It is rare one has to include in that calculation the moral compass of the person for whom you are voting. Yet that is a factor we must take into account. To put into power a man so opposed to our values is inexcusable.

Some issues transcend party politics; they transcend our views on Brexit; they transcend our views on how the economy should be run. This is not simply a case of condoning a man’s detestable views but supporting and endorsing them. Views antithetical to toleration and equality.

I will leave you with the words of Martin Niemolloer (1946):

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Stand in solidarity.

Lest we forget; lest we return to that dark place.