A group of several hundred members of the British Jewish community has launched Jews for Jeremy, a group to support Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for leadership of the Labour Party.
Some members of the group live in Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency, some have worked with him on various campaigns, and many know him from his reputation and his tireless work for the disadvantaged in society, including migrants and asylum seekers, over the past 32 years. They are convinced that his policies are the right ones for the Labour Party to pursue both domestically and internationally at this time.
The Conservative government is implementing harsh austerity measures that are harming the British economy and the lives of British people. Members of Jews for Jeremy believe that Jeremy Corbyn’s policies would be more likely to bring both fairness and prosperity. Jeremy Corbyn’s economic plans have been endorsed by more than forty leading economists in a letter to the Observer this week, and members of the group believe they are sound, fair and realistic. They believe, as do many economists and commentators, that they will resonate with the British people, and that they will be popular with the electorate. They are impressed by Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to bring more democracy to the Labour Party, and to seek to bring in candidates for office from a wider range of backgrounds. They note that Jeremy Corbyn was the only leadership candidate to respond in full to questions from the environmental charity Friends of the Earth, with an environmental policy which is progressive and responsible.
In international relations, the group asserts that Jeremy Corbyn’s policies offer the best hope for peaceful resolution of conflicts both in the Middle East and the rest of the world. Members applaud his efforts to bring together opposing parties to many conflicts in dialogue in a constructive way, and are dismayed that in some cases this has been held against him. The group notes that even Tony Blair and the Israeli government have very recently engaged in such dialogue, and it is unfortunate that it was not begun much earlier.
Crucially, as Jews, members of the group are alarmed that some unscrupulous sections of the media have sought to label Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite, or a knowing associate and supporter of antisemites. Those who know Jeremy Corbyn and have worked with him believe that this is an absurd charge. Jeremy Corbyn has a long history of principled anti-racism, and has a close and amiable relationship with the Jewish community in his constituency. He has long had friendly contact with Jewish organisations throughout the UK and abroad. Members of Jews for Jeremy believe that these accusations are a cynical attempt to damage Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign, and do not think they amount to legitimate political criticism or debate.
The group appeals both to Jews who are Labour members or supporters and to those who support Jeremy Corbyn from outside Labour to join with them. For those who quite legitimately support other candidates, or are critical of left politics in general, members of the group are happy to debate or argue in a respectful and friendly manner, but hope to dispense with the smears which have characterised some of the debate so far.
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