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Pro-Israeli newspapers in UK claim Corbyn poses 'existential threat'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a demonstration in central London on June 30, 2018. (AFP photo)

Three Jewish newspapers in Britain with strong connections to Israel have launched an unprecedented and coordinated attack on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, claiming a government led by him would pose an "existential threat" to Jewish life in the UK.

The scathing attack on Corbyn was launched by the Jewish News, The Jewish Chronicle and The Jewish Telegraph in their Thursday edition.

Each newspaper produced similar front pages attacking the Labour Party’s decision not to fully adopt a controversial working definition of anti-Semitism produced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which claims describing “Israel is a racist endeavor” as an example of anti-Semitism.

The three publications also attacked the Labour Party’s alleged “terrible record” on anti-Semitism since Corbyn became leader in 2015.

However, the attack is seen by many as politically-motivated and orchestrated by the Israeli lobby to undermine Corbyn’s leadership because of his longstanding support for Palestine.

Their joint editorial claims Labour was the “natural home” for the Jews in the UK. However, they allege that the party under Corbyn entertains “contempt for Jews and Israel” and that the Labour Party is now confronted by the very real possibility of being seen as “institutionally racist.”

They then justified the joint editorial attack on Corbyn “because of the existential threat to Jewish life in this country that would be posed by a Jeremy Corbyn-led government.”

The three pro-Israel papers claimed they felt compelled to act due to the ruling Conservative Party’s disarray and divisions over leaving the European Union, which has presented Corbyn with a good chance of becoming the next British prime minister. 

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn gestures to the crowd in Trafalgar Square as protesters against the UK visit of US President Donald Trump gather after taking part in a march in London on July 13, 2018. (AFP photo)

“There is a clear and present danger that a man with a default blindness to the Jewish community’s fears, a man who has a problem seeing that hateful rhetoric aimed at Israel can easily step into antisemitism, could be our next prime minister,” the joint editorial said.

They concluded their editorial attack with a clear ultimatum to Corbyn and the Labour Party, saying, “... implement IHRA in full or be seen by all decent people as an institutionally racist, antisemitic party.”

However, some argue that the three leading pro-Israeli Jewish newspapers in the UK are not reflective of the Jewish community’s thoughts on anti-Semitism, Corbyn or the Labour Party.

Anti-Zionist Jewish activist Professor Haim Bresheeth called the claims “sheer and arrogant nonsense."

“The attack on Jeremy Corbyn is in itself a support of the racist, apartheid state in Israel, which actually has an excellent relationship with every anti-Semitic right-wing regime in Europe and of course the United States. So anyone looking for anti-Semitism and racism has to look at Israel and its friends,” Bresheeth, who is the son of a Holocaust survivor, told Press TV.

The astonishing attack on Corbyn has also caused a huge backlash from the Jewish Voice for Labour group, which argues this is less about defending Jews and more about defending Israel.

Labour's National Executive Committee has defended its actions not to fully implement the IHRA's definition of anti-Semitism and said the definition they adopted “expands on and contextualizes its examples to produce robust, legally sound guidelines that a political party can apply to disciplinary cases.”

They added the party was apprehensive about producing a code that could be “used to deny Palestinians, including Palestinian citizens of Israel and their supporters, their rights and freedoms to describe the discrimination and injustices they face in the language they deem appropriate.”

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