The U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle newspaper has sounded the alarm over the impending election of Member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn as the next head of the Labour Party and British opposition leader, asking Corbyn to prove he is not “an enemy of Britain’s Jewish community.”
“In this rare instance we are certain that we speak for the vast majority of British Jews in expressing deep foreboding at the prospect of Mr. Corbyn’s election as Labour leader,” the Jewish Chronicle wrote in an editorial.
“In a nation where, thank heavens, racism and extremism are now regarded as beyond the pale, it is little short of astonishing that a man who chooses to associate with racists and extremists is about to become leader of one of our two main parties and could conceivably become prime minister,” the newspaper added.
The editorial was triggered by a report that Corbyn wrote a letter of support to Rev. Stephen Sizer, who has blamed Israel for the 9/11 attacks and was banned by the Anglican Church for six months for his anti-Semitic ideas. Corbyn said Sizer was “under attack” by a pro-Israel smear campaign.
The Labour leadership election was triggered by the resignation of the party’s Jewish-born former leader, Ed Miliband, who lost to Prime Minister David Cameron in May’s general election.
In a 2009 speech at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event, Corbyn infamously said, “It will be my pleasure and honor to host an event in parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking. I’ve also invited our friends from Hamas to come and speak as well… So far as I’m concerned, that is absolutely the right function of using parliamentary facilities.”
Corbyn has also been criticized for his close friendship with Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, who runs a pro-Palestinian group called Deir Yassin Remembered.