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3 April 2018updated 28 Jun 2021 4:39am

The Jewdas Seder shows Corbyn’s relationship with Jewish leaders is fractured beyond repair

It all but ensures that Jewish organisations such as the JLC and the Board of Deputies will believe Jeremy Corbyn pays only lip service to their worries. 

By Stephen Bush

Why is this morning like so many other mornings? Because the Labour Party is once again involved in a row over anti-Semitism and Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of it. His praetorian guard in Momentum have released a widely-praised statement saying that anti-Semitism in the Labour party is more widespread that they had previously thought, that stories about it cannot be dismissed as smears, and that both implicit bias and deliberate anti-Semitism exist in the Labour party.

But now Jeremy Corbyn’s relationship with the Jewish community is back in the spotlight after the Guido Fawkes website reported that he attended a Passover Seder with the radical leftwing Jewish group Jewdas, an organisation that is part of the Jewish community but holds and advocates for many opinions that go against the majority, including their opposition to the state of Israel and their aggressive response to the Enough is Enough demonstration last week. It’s that latter which for many makes Corbyn’s decision to accept the invitation to attend a provocation too far.

The row is confusing to many people outside the community but here is an imperfect, but hopefully helpful analogy: imagine for a moment that I am under fire for not taking the concerns of  the Labour left seriously, and I choose to mark the anniversary of the 1945 election victory by having dinner with a gaggle of unapologetic Blairites. Obviously, many of those on the Labour left would feel this showed I didn’t really care about what they thought, and my dinner guests would feel offended at the suggestion that they weren’t “proper” lefties.

And others might wonder how this was all that different from my regular Saturday night plans.

That’s why some members of Labour are in despair today and why others are furious that Corbyn’s dinner is being spoken of in the same breath as genuine anti-Semitism. Many Jewish organisations and Jewish Labour members feel that Corbyn’s decision to attend the Seder is a sign he doesn’t take their complaints seriously. And members of Jewdas understandably feel offended at suggestions in the press that they are not “proper” Jews.

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(And others might wonder how different a Seder with Jews from the radical left really is from Jeremy Corbyn’s usual Monday night dinner plans.)

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What is clear is this: that Corbyn’s relationship with majority Jewish opinion and its leaders is fractured beyond repair.