National treasure she may be, but I did not expect that the moral lead in the election campaign would come from Joanna Lumley.
In this morning’s Guardian, Ms Lumley, along with 23 other public figures such as John Le Carré, Fay Weldon, Frederic Forsyth, William Boyd and Simon Callow, wrote how she could not vote Labour because of the party’s problem with antisemitism.
Their letter rightly said that for Britain’s Jews, the election “contains a particular anguish: the prospect of a prime minister steeped in association with antisemitism.” As they continued: “We listen to our Jewish friends and see how their pain has been relegated as an issue”.
There is a Yiddish word for the signatories – mensch. A mensch is someone who behaves with honour and integrity, someone kind and considerate who does the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
But however heart-warming it is for a Jew to see such a letter, that it the least interesting aspect of it. Far more illuminating has been the response form the Labour Party.
To the ‘Labour spokesman’ quoted in response in the Guardian, they are not mensches at all. Quite the opposite. They are enemies who, because they oppose the cult, must by definition be bad people. As the spokesman puts it, “several of those who have signed this letter have themselves been accused of antisemitism, Islamophobia and misogyny.”
This is a deeply revealing, albeit entirely unsurprising, response.
I have been accused of being a paedophile. I have been accused of being a paid agent of a foreign power. And I have been accused of being an Islamophobe and all-purpose racist. What I have not been is shown to have been any of those things. Because I am not. The lies about me, however, are regular on social media from supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. Anyone who exposes and attacks Labour’s institutional racism receives the same treatment.
In response to a thoughtful and evidence-based letter about Jeremy Corbyn’s issue with Jews, Labour’s official response is to behave in exactly the same way as its social media outriders – to smear with accusations. Just as their supporters attack Jews with assorted antisemitic tropes, so Labour’s response to those who announce they will stand in solidarity with the subjects of the party’s racism is to make similar accusations. These people oppose the cult, so they are BAD PEOPLE.
This is the Corbyn cult at its rawest. Because the leader is good, because his supporters are good, because the cause is good, all who oppose it must be malign. So the correct response is to seek to destroy their reputation.
Is it any wonder Jews are concerned about the prospect of a Labour government, when this is how it behaves in opposition?