Stamford Hill charedim may be divided on Labour’s record on anti-Semitism.
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, the MP for the safe Labour seat of London’s Hackney – which has a large Jewish, mainly chassidic population – caused controversy last week when she said on BBC Today that Stamford Hill charedim were not as worried about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as other British Jews.
In response, Labour Party member and former Labour councillor Rabbi Avrohom Pinter accused Abbott of “trying to divide the Jewish community.”
He told The Jewish Press: “The Stamford Hill Jewish community does not have any particular view. For her to suggest that the charedi community believes there is no anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is wrong. I think the vast majority of people have concerns. That is not their only concern. Obviously there are issues like education that are a major concern, which they see as their biggest threat.”
The Labour Party has pledged to disband Ofsted, the educational inspectorate that has come down hard on Jewish schools.
Rabbi Pinter added: “People come up to me the whole time and ask me if Corbyn is an anti-Semite. Anti-Semitism is a major problem in the party and has not been dealt with adequately. I personally don’t believe that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite, but a Marxist, which can lead to anti-Semitism.”
Stamford Hill activist Shraga Stern had a different take. He told The Jewish Press, “As a Jewish chassidic resident of Hackney, I can assure you that Diane Abbott is right.”
Labour Official Accused of Singing ‘Hey Jews’
Labour Shadow International Development Secretary Dan Carden has been accused of changing the words of the song, “Hey Jude,” to “Hey Jews,” on a coach journey from the Cheltenham Races last year.
Carden is the Labour candidate for Liverpool Walton. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to investigate the incident.
Labour Candidate Steps Down After Comparing Israel to ‘Abusive Adult’
A Labour candidate has stood down after the Jewish Chronicle publicized that she had once written on a blog: “To me, the Israeli state is like an abused child who becomes an abusive adult…. As we intervene with child abusers, the international community needs to intervene with Israel.”
Kate Ramsden, who hoped to stand for the Scottish seat of Gordon, also claimed that allegations that Jeremy Corbyn is anti-Semitic were “orchestrated by the wealthy establishment.”
Her local party said it has taken “swift and robust action on this matter.”
Suspended Labour Candidate Is Barred From Running
Chris Williamson, who was suspended from the Labour Party for saying it had been “too apologetic” for the anti-Semitism in its ranks, has been barred from standing as a candidate in the general election.
President of the Board of Deputies, Marie van der Zyl said, “The National Executive Committee ruling to bar Chris Williamson MP from standing again in Derby North is the correct one. However, this is not enough. Labour’s leadership must now stop dragging its feet and act immediately to expel from this party this disgraced politician who has baited the Jewish community for far too long.”
Two Ex-Labor MPs Urge Public to Vote Conservative
Two MPs who left the Labour Party over anti-Semitism in its midst are urging their constituents to vote Conservative rather than put Jeremy Corbyn into office.
Ian Austin, who was adopted by a Jewish Holocaust refugee, said that Corbyn’s record on anti-Semitism rendered him completely unfit for office. He was joined in his campaign by John Woodcock.
In separate news, former Labour Home Secretary Lord Blunkett said the anti-Semitism in Labour makes him despair, but he urged Labour moderates to stay in the party to fight.
Brexit Candidate Co-Founded Luftwaffe-Themed Band
News outlets are reporting that Graham Cushway, Brexit candidate for Brighton Kempton, co-founded a Luftwaffe-themed metal band, which performed while wearing SS-style clothes and Iron Crosses. The Stuka Squadron is named after World War II Nazi war planes.
The band’s Facebook page last week claimed it did not intend “to convey any political message” with its name.
Ofsted Not Happy with Manchester Bais Yaakov
Manchester’s Bais Yaakov High School need improvement, according to Ofsted, partly because “pupils do not learn about issues relating to sexual orientation, gender identity and civil partnership.”
Parents told The Jewish Press after a September Ofsted inspection that they were upset that their daughters were queried by inspectors about these topics.
Oftsed also marked the school down for failing to teach music and a modern foreign language besides Hebrew. Additionally, too little time was spent on physical education, it said.
Remembrance Day Marked With… Swastikas
Sunday, which was Remembrance Day for those who died fighting for Britain, saw cars and homes in Canvey Island daubed with swastikas and slogans such as “Jews Out!”
The reclaimed island in the River Thames has recently seen a large influx of Jews from London’s Stamford Hill.
Essex Police are investigating the incidents.
Odds and Ends
* Salford Conservative councillor Rabbi Arnold Saunders is the Tory candidate for the Salford constituency of Worsley. Should he win the seat with a large Labour majority, he would become the first rabbi in Parliament.
* The BBC Panorama program that exposed anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has been shortlisted for an investigative British Journalism Award, as has its creators.