The report below is from The Canary:
On 28 February, shadow secretary for international trade Barry Gardiner appeared on BBC Question Time and set the record straight: Jeremy Corbyn has a gold standard record on fighting racism.
“That was Jeremy Corbyn”
Countering the establishment line that Corbyn has been antisemitic, Gardiner said:
Can I go back to the 23rd of April 1977 when in Wood Green there was a right-wing antisemitic march through a part of London, which was a heavily Jewish part of London. The person who organised the counter-demonstration to that was Jeremy Corbyn.
Throughout the last 30 years, I don’t think there is anyone in parliament who on issues of antisemitism, on issues of racism, and on issues of equality has consistently, whether it’s in motions… parliamentary debates or whether it’s in direct action on the streets, has taken a more active and vociferous role in fighting for equality, for minorities and for people who have been at the receiving end of racist violence… When I hear people trying to vilify him, this is someone who has, in the media… been a Czech spy, a Russian spy…
In 1977, Corbyn faced an antisemitic demonstration from the National Front. A counsellor at the time, Corbyn unified the antifascists and trade unionists in a counter-protest.
Gold standard record
And it goes well beyond the counter-protest. Corbyn’s record on challenging antisemitism is the gold standard:
- 7 November 1990: Corbyn signed a motion questioning why 21 publications posting antisemitic content had resulted in no prosecutions.
- 26 February 2009: he signed a parliamentary motion condemning “vile and anti-Semitic” content on the internet.
- 2 July 2009: the Labour leader signed a parliamentary motion celebrating Bradford Reform Synagogue obtaining Grade II building status for its “architectural merit”.
- 9 January 2014: he signed a parliamentary motion paying tribute to survivors and victims of the genocide waged against Jewish people during World War II.
- 22 June 2015: Corbyn signed a parliamentary motion praising the London Jewish Forum for standing up to racist marches.
It’s true that Corbyn has never been antisemitic and that the media and right-wing is weaponising antisemitism against Labour. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any antisemitism on the ‘left’. There is and it needs tackling.
That said, with the above facts in mind, it’s clear that the establishment media is attempting to reverse reality. Corbyn is, in fact, a lifelong antiracist. And it’s down to us to set the record straight.