Nearly a week after the Daily Mail revealed that in 2013 UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made remarks widely regarded as antisemitic, the American media has remained virtually silent on the firestorm that has rocked British politics as well as on the heightened climate of fear among British Jews. In the Daily Mail, Jake Wallis Simons reported Aug. 23 (“Jeremy Corbyn said British ‘Zionists’ have ‘no sense of English irony despite having lived here all their lives’ and ‘need a lesson’, while giving speech alongside Islamic extremists at a conference publicised by Hamas’ military wing“):
Jeremy Corbyn accused British ‘Zionists’ of having ‘no sense of English irony’ despite having ‘lived in Britain all of their lives’, in comments that have been slammed by Jewish groups as anti-Semitic, MailOnline can reveal.
The remarks were made in 2013, when Corbyn was giving a speech alongside prominent British extremists, at a London conference promoted by the propaganda website of terror group Hamas.
The Labour leader said: ‘[British Zionists] clearly have two problems. One is they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either.’
He added: ‘They needed two lessons, which we could perhaps help them with.’
Recalling a disagreement between some ‘Zionists’ and the Palestinian representative, Manuel Hassassian, following a speech by Hassassian in Parliament, Corbyn said:
‘[Hassassian’s speech] was dutifully recorded by the thankfully silent Zionists who were in the audience on that occasion, and then came up and berated him afterwards for what he’d said.’
Blogger Richard Millet, a longtime contributor to CAMERA’s UK Media Watch, was the “British Zionist” in question who “dutifully recorded” and blogged about Hassassian’s 2013 speech at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign event in Parliament in which the Palestinian envoy averred: “You know, I’m reaching the conclusion that the Jews are the children of God, the only children of God and the Promised Land is being paid by God!”
Regarding Corbyn’s slur about “British Zionists” lacking “English irony,” Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, told the Daily Mail‘s Simons: “This shows the reality of what Jeremy Corbyn thinks of Jews, somehow a breed apart from ‘normal’ English people.” Pollard added that Corbyn used the word “Zionist” in place of “Jews.” The Daily Mail also quoted Jonathan Sacerdoti, a founding trustee of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism:
‘The idea that British Jews somehow haven’t absorbed British values is outrageous.
‘To doubt our Britishness because we disagree with your controversial views on Palestine, when you are the one fraternising with extremists, is deeply anti-Semitic. British Jews are right to be scared.’
Yesterday, Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of England, warned that Corbyn is an anti-semite whose “British Zionists” remark “was the most offensive statement made by a senior British politician since Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech,” referring to a widely-reviled anti-immigration speech.
Surprisingly, the news pages of American media outlets have been completely silent on Corbyn’s remarks, mirroring their lack of interest earlier this month in the revelation that the Labour leader had laid a wreath in a Tunisian cemetery just meters away from the masterminds of the Munich massacre. The notable exception is yesterday’s Reuters article (“Former UK chief rabbi calls opposition leader Corbyn an anti-semite“). Other international wire agencies, namely the Associated Press and Agence France Presse, failed to cover the “English irony” story, even though they both have bureaus in London. Leading U.S. media giants like The New York Times and CNN, which stress international coverage, addressed the story only with outside (critical) Op-Eds.