|Foto: Astrid Nydahl|
The coming election is momentous for every voter, but for British Jews it contains a particular anguish: the prospect of a prime minister steeped in association with antisemitism. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership Labour has come under formal investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for institutional racism against Jews. Two Jewish MPs have been bullied out of the party. Mr Corbyn has a long record of embracing antisemites as comrades.
We listen to our Jewish friends and see how their pain has been relegated as an issue, pushed aside by arguments about Britain’s European future. For those who insist that Labour is the only alternative to Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit, now, it seems, is not the time for Jewish anxiety.
But antisemitism is central to a wider debate about the kind of country we want to be. To ignore it because Brexit looms larger is to declare that anti-Jewish prejudice is a price worth paying for a Labour government. Which other community’s concerns are disposable in this way? Who would be next?
Opposition to racism cannot include surrender in the fight against antisemitism. Yet that is what it would mean to back Labour and endorse Mr Corbyn for Downing Street. The path to a more tolerant society must encompass Britain’s Jews with unwavering solidarity. We endorse no party. However, we cannot in all conscience urge others to support a political party we ourselves will not. We refuse to vote Labour on 12 December.