Board of Deputies President: Corbyn does not care if his actions signal support for racist attitudes


Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl has written to Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, telling him ‘the Jewish community is entitled to an apology for this failure to speak out against prejudice against our community when confronted with racism’.

She was replying to Mr Corbyn’s letter in which he claims not to have endorsed the antisemitic content of JA Hobson’s book ‘Imperialism’ in the foreword he wrote to the 2011 edition.

She wrote: There is ‘an impression that you either do not care whether your actions, inadvertently or deliberately, signal support for racist attitudes or behaviours’. She adds: ‘Whilst you, quite correctly, explicitly commended Hobson’s criticism of caricatures of African and Asian people, there is a failure to make even a passing reference to the blatant antisemitism in the book that you enthusiastically endorse.’

Marie added: ‘In your letter, you claim only to have ‘reserved praise for some of the broad themes’ of Hobson’s book and that you ‘totally deplore’ the antisemitism that was commonplace in ‘this era’. However, we note that your lengthy and detailed foreword of over 3500 words, variously describes Hobson’s work as “great”, “remarkable”, “interesting”, “brilliant”, “painstaking”, “very powerful”, “attractive”, “valid”, “correct”, “prescient” and “very prescient”, without any qualification referring to the antisemitism within it.’

You can read Mr Corbyn’s letter here, Marie’s letter here and her original open letter to Mr Corbyn here.

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