A major British Labour Party donor this week has abandoned the central party and pulled his family’s funding over leader Jeremy Corbyn’s his tolerance of members’ increasing expressions of anti-Semitism – beginning with his own brother Piers.
Michael Foster, a Labour candidate and former generous central party donor, wrote in the MailOnline this weekend that “Corbyn’s contempt for Jews is a disgrace.”
The statement is similar to one made at a New York synagogue over the weekend by former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey, who said in a blunt speech that hatred of Jews is rising in the ranks of Labour, according to a report published Saturday in the Daily Mail. Carey said anti-Semitism is also rising at top universities and elsewhere in Britain, and is reaching its highest levels in 30 years. If Corbyn does not take effective action, he warned, “this will demonstrate that Labour is not ready to govern.”
In a column picked up by NewsJS, Foster wrote, “The Labour Party stands for a vision of community which appeals to many British Jews. The Party matters to them. And for the 2015 Election, my family donated £400,000 ($565,000)… In the run-up to the last May’s general election, the Jewish community donated almost one-third of the £9.7 million ($13.7 million) that Labour received from private donors – and that despite recoiling from Labour’s parliamentary vote to recognize Palestine,” he pointed out.
But this year no major Jewish donor has given a single pound to the central Labour Party, which is under the control of a man who is the self-declared “friend” of both Hamas and Hezbollah.
Foster warned the party should be “deeply worried,” adding that he questions the “very purpose of a leader who defends his brother’s racist remarks, rather than be seen by his supporters as being in any way soft on Israel.”
To explain the alienation Foster suggested readers replace the words ‘Zionists’ and ‘Palestine’ in Piers Corbyn’s latest racist tweet with ‘Blacks’ and ‘White South Africa.’ (The tweet was: ‘Zionists can’t cope with anyone supporting rights for Palestine.’)
The former party donor did, however, contribute directly to the campaign of Labour candidate Sadiq Khan, who is running for Mayor of London, and to the campaigns of other individuals.
Foster said he did not contribute to “those who presently control the party” because it would be “foolish to donate to a cause whose leaders view us with contempt.”
Corbyn “continues to ignore the problem, and that shocks me,” Foster wrote, with obvious frustration.
“What are my fellow Jews to make of claims reported elsewhere in this newspaper that a young Labour councillor in Luton, Aysegul Gurbuz, described Hitler as the ‘greatest man in history’ and hoped Iran would use a nuclear weapon to ‘wipe Israel off the map’?” he wrote.
(Gurbuz was suspended over the anti-Semitic tweets, according to the Daily Mail, including one that said ‘Ed Miliband is Jewish. He will never become prime minister of Britain.’) She remains in the public eye as a student at Warwick University and the events organizer for the student union’s Friends of Palestine Society.
“Too many Jews in Britain had grandfathers like mine who confidently told my father that Hitler walking into Austria was not a crisis. Grandpa Heinrich was in Dachau within four days. There is not a synagogue in Britain today that does not have 24-hour manned security,” Foster pointed out bitterly. “Imagine that level of security around every church in England. The Jewish community has cause and reason to be vigilant.
“There are many Anglo Jews like me; yes of course we worry. History tells us we are not wrong to do so. I am the first male in four generations going back to 1860 who has not yet been driven from their country of birth by political anti-Semitism. The Jewish community has protested clearly and often, and will continue to do so. Yet I will vouch that Jeremy Corbyn will do nothing,” he wrote.