The chief rabbi’s rebuke instantly generated fierce debate among British Jews, with some seeing it as reflecting their fears of Labour and others saying that he did not speak for them. (“U.K. Chief Rabbi Denounces Labour Party on Anti-Semitism“)
What evidence is there of “fierce debate among British Jews” around chief rabbi’s condemnation? Y does Times devote 4 graphs to fringe group (Jews Against Boris) & fail to name even 1 mainstream org? @LabourAgainstAS @CAMERAorg pic.twitter.com/ncBPLQaq3E
— Tamar Sternthal (@TamarSternthal) November 27, 2019
But some British Jews also criticized the way Labour’s political opponents were putting Rabbi Mirvis’s words to use. Not all British Jews recognize the chief rabbi as the leader of their communities.
And some people warned that Rabbi Mirvis had sidestepped a greater threat posed to Jews and other British minority groups by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has himself been accused of making racist and Islamophobic remarks and energizing parts of the far right similar to those responsible for recent attacks on Jews in the United States.
“We understand why so many in our community feel unable to vote for the Labour party, however we must not make the mistake of thinking the Conservatives are a safer alternative,” an organization called Jews Against Boris wrote on Twitter. “This is a party which is courting nationalist votes by demonizing and threatening minorities, and undermining the rule of law. The idea that this would be a safe environment for Jews is incredibly dangerous.”
The group, modeled in part on the efforts of American Jews to organize against President Trump, said keeping British Jews safe meant standing in solidarity “with all other communities experiencing oppression.”
“This is an unprecedented call from the Chief Rabbi that is sadly reflective of how many British Jews feel.
“They are fearful that if Labour has allowed antisemitism to take hold in this way while in opposition, that things will become worse if they are in government. Jew-baiters are being protected by Labour’s opaque and factional disciplinary process, while Jewish MPs are being hounded out of the Party with not a word of protest from Jeremy Corbyn.
“This is not just a Jewish issue. What starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews.
“If this combination of disdain, injustice, incompetence and malevolence is how Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party treats a serious issue like anti-Jewish racism, voters are entitled to question how it will handle the other big issues that face the country.”
— Benjamin Mueller (@benjmueller) November 7, 2019