The Democratic Party is following Britain’s Labour party down the antisemitic rabbit hole.
Today, with the British Labour Party firmly under the thumb of its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Britain is one election away from being led by a man who has spent decades in the company of some of the most prolific and noxious antisemites in the world.
Allegations of anti-Jewish bigotry have hounded Corbyn for decades, and with good reason. It isn’t simply that he has associated with notorious antisemites, and referred to Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists as “my friends.”
It is that Corbyn has whitewashed antisemites in Labour. He has made Labour a warm and welcoming home for them. And at the same time, under his leadership, prominent Jewish pro-Jewish and pro-Israel voices have been marginalized while antisemitic Jews have been organized and empowered as a political weapon to sanitize the antisemitism that permeates the party.
Last week, British researcher David Collier published two reports (here and here), documenting in granular detail the postings at a virulently antisemitic secret Facebook page called “Palestine Live.”
Corbyn was a member of the group until shortly after he was elected leader of the Labour Party in 2015. While anyone can be placed on any Facebook page whether he wants to be there or not, and Corbyn claims that he was “joined” to the group without his knowledge, Corbyn was not a passive member. The leader of Labour was active on the wildly bigoted group.
The muck on the “Palestine Live” page runs the anti-Semitic spectrum from medieval to pogromist, from Nazi to Communist to anti-Zionist.
The group’s 3,200 members routinely post propaganda justifying the Holocaust, denying the Holocaust, and blaming the Jews for the Holocaust. They accused Jews of killing Palestinians to steal their organs and of controlling the global economy, the governments of every country on earth, and the media. They assign Jews responsibility for every major terrorist attack in the world.
As for Israel, group members accuse Israel of every possible crime against humanity. The Palestinians of Gaza are referred to as “Holocaust survivors,” while Israelis are “terrorists” and “Nazis.”
As Collier put it, “Palestine Live is a sewer, full of anti-Semitic ideologies.”
Members of the secret group were well aware of its bigoted nature. Jacqueline Walker, the a former member of Labour’s pro-Corbyn Momentum faction’s steering committee, who was twice suspended from the party over allegations of anti-Jewish bigotry asked Elleanne Green, Palestine Live’s founder and one of its administrators, “How safe is this group?”
Green responded, “Very…no one is allowed in who is not trusted…I am very careful…and it is a Secret Group…so it really is as safe as you will be able to find anywhere.”
As to Corbyn, whereas other prominent British leftists were inactive members, and could reasonably claim they were unaware that they had been added to the hate group, Collier documented multiple instances where Corbyn actively engaged with it.
In September 2014, members of the group asked Corbyn to host a lecture by noted American anti-Israel conspiracy theorist Max Blumenthal. Corbyn was happy to oblige. The event took place in early October 2014.
Green, like the other two group administrators, regularly posted antisemitic conspiracy theories. Anyone who had a glancing familiarity with her and with her posts on the hate group she established had to know that she is a fire breathing Jew hater.
In October 2014, she asked Corbyn on the page if he would invite prominent Israel basher and conspiracy theorist Dr. Mads Gilbert from Norway to speak at the British Parliament. Corbyn responded enthusiastically.
“Have huge respect for my friend Dr. Mads Gilbert and would be delighted to invite him to Westminster,” he wrote.
Gilbert has likened Israel to Nazi Germany. He also hates America and has justified the 9/11 attacks specifically and terrorism against the US generally.
“The oppressed … have a moral right to attack the USA with any weapon they can come up with,” he said.
When Corbyn responded to the Collier’s reports, he said his posts were limited to some replies, including “a suggestion on the vote on recognizing Palestine, which I supported, and inviting a doctor, [that is, Gilbert] to speak at an event.”
Since Collier published his reports, Labour suspended a few of its members who posted on the page. Corbyn denied seeing antisemitic postings and said, “Obviously, any anti-Semitic comment is wrong. Any anti-Semitism in any form is wrong.”
Corbyn’s unqualified rejections of antisemitism are a rarity. He almost always gives himself an escape hatch which is often itself antisemitic. For instance, in 2016 in a statement ostensibly about rejecting anti-Jewish bigotry, Corbyn said, “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organizations.”
Which brings us to the Democratic Party.
Corbyn’s statement recalled a statement then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) made during the 2008 presidential campaign.
“There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel,” Obama told an audience in Ohio.
Likud is Israel’s ruling party. It won the last three elections. By insinuating that Likud is illegitimate, Obama rejected the legitimacy of Israelis who elect Likud to lead them.
In addition, during the 2008 election and throughout his presidency, Obama diligently obfuscated his associations with antisemites.
Consider his relationship with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Farrakhan is the most prominent and politically powerful antisemite in America.
He has a four-decade record of viciously antisemitic statements along the lines of the posts at the Palestine Live Facebook group. He has called Hitler “a very great man.” He has referred to Judaism as “a gutter religion,” and to Jews as “satanic.” He accused “Jews” of perpetrating the 9/11 attacks.
For Farrakhan, anti-Jewish bigotry has never been a bug in an otherwise wonderful system. Jew hatred has been a central feature of his public life.
During a Democratic primary debate in 2008, moderator Tim Russert asked Obama to comment on the fact that a few days before the debate, Farrakhan endorsed him at a Nation of Islam convention. Referring to Farrakhan respectfully as “Minister Farrakhan,” Obama said dryly, “I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic comments.”
He added, “I have consistently distanced myself from him.”
When Russert asked him if he rejected Farrakhan’s support, Obama demurred.
“I did not solicit his support. But I can’t say to somebody that he can’t say that he thinks I’m a good guy,” Obama said.
Obama’s relationship with Farrakhan returned to the news in January when photo-journalist Askia Muhammad published a photograph he took of the two men together at a 2005 Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) meeting when Obama was a serving U.S. Senator.
Askia told a reporter that the CBC asked him to hide it.
“I gave the picture up at the time and basically swore secrecy,” to prevent Obama’s association with Farrakhan from harming his future presidential prospects, Askia explained.
“After the nomination was secured and all the way up until the inauguration: then for eight years after he was President, it was kept under cover.”
Rather than disavowing Farrakhan, after Askia’s photograph was published, leading African American lawmakers have embraced him.
Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) told the Daily Caller that Farrakhan is “an outstanding human being.”
Davis explained that in Chicago, Farrakhan is not a fringe figure.
“I don’t regard Louis Farrakhan as an aberration or anything. I regard him as an outstanding human being who commands a following of individuals who are learned and articulate and he plays a big role in the lives of thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of people.”
As for Farrakhan’s hatred of Jews, “That’s just one segment of what goes on in our world. The world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that and so forth.”
A week before Davis called him an “outstanding,” mainstream leader, Farrakhan gave a virulently antisemitic sermon at the Nation of Islam’s Saviors’ Day celebration. He referred to Jews as “satanic” and said, “powerful Jews are my enemies.”
Like the members of Palestine Live Facebook page, Farrakhan promoted the conspiracy theory that Jews control Hollywood and the U.S. government, including the FBI. And the U.S. isn’t the only country controlled by “Satanic Jews”: Poland, Ukraine, France, Germany and Mexico are also controlled by Jews who “take on the culture, the money, the business,” of those countries, he said.
Farrakhan also gave a shout out to Tamika Mallory, one of the leaders of the Women’s March, among the most important organizing forces in the Democratic Party today.
As the Anti-Defamation League noted, “Mallory posted two Instagram photos from the event, which Carmen Perez, another Women’s March organizer, commented on with ‘raise the roof’ emojis.”
Mallory referred to Farrakhan as the “GOAT,” or “Greatest of All Time,” on her Instagram page. Her co-chairs, Perez and Linda Sarsour, have both expressed admiration for Farrakhan. After his statements at the Saviors’ Day sermon gained wide exposure, the Women’s March put out a boilerplate condemnation of racism without mentioning Farrakhan.
Daily Caller Associate Editor Peter Hasson reported that seven Democratic Congressman have held multiple meetings with Farrakhan. And Democratic National Committee Vice-Chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is one of them. Like then presidential candidate Obama in 2008, Ellison made light of his relationship with Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam when he first ran for Congress in 2006 and during his campaign for DNC Chair in 2016.
None of the 21 Democratic lawmakers who were present at the 2005 CBC meeting with Farrakhan that Obama attended in 2005 responded to Hasson’s request to denounce Farrakhan.
Indeed, far from denouncing him, the CBC has denounced his Jewish critics, and Israel.
When Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) was questioned about his association with Farrakhan, he attacked Israel and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), speaking in the name of the CBC.
The RJC called for Carson and the other Democratic lawmakers who met with Farrakhan to resign. But rather than apologize for embracing a man who applauds Hitler, Carson rejected the legitimacy of the RJC
“That organization doesn’t have any credibility with me,” he declared.
He continued, “The Congressional Black Caucus is asking that organization to condemn [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and the [Israeli] government for discriminating against Africans who are migrating [to Israel], who are fleeing dictatorships, who are fleeing oppression. There’s a great deal of bigotry and racism happening right now they fail to condemn.”
(For factual information on Israel’s treatment of illegal immigration from Africa, see here.)
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has asked DNC Chairman Tom Perez to address his party’s ties to Farrakhan “America’s leading anti-Semite.” To date, Perez has remained mum.
Then there is Obama’s consigliere, Valerie Jarrett. In an appearance on NBC’s The View, Jarrett tried to defend Mallory for her association with Farrakhan. Jarrett comparedMallory’s association with Farrakhan to her association with Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers, whom Jarrett met with during her tenure at the White House.
Which brings us back to Britain’s Labour party.
Like Corbyn, the Democrats have responded to the exposure of their close ties to the most powerful antisemite in the United States by deflecting the issue. They have drawn moral equivalences between Farrakhan and the government of Israel, and between Farrakhan and leading conservatives.
They have also embraced him as a “great man” who cannot be dismissed or rejected simply because he seeks the annihilation of the Jewish state of Israel, views the American Jewish community as his “enemy,” thinks the Holocaust was justified, and regards Hitler as a “very great man.”
Until he took over Labour, Corbyn was considered a fringe figure in the Labour party. Likewise, until recently, the Congressional Black Caucus was viewed as being on the leftist margins of the party. But as the forces of the far left have risen to positions of prominence in the party, the CBC has become a major player.
Ellison is not a fringe Democrat. He nearly won the election for DNC chair. His constituency is so large and committed that Perez made him Vice Chairman immediately after he was elected.
Collier’s damning report strengthens the growing sense that Britain’s Labour Party has already gone over the brink. Antisemitism is a central and undeniable rationale for its policies. As for the Democratic Party, it is still possible that the party’s rank-and-file will reject their leadership’s embrace of antisemitism through Farrakhan.
But with each passing day, it is becoming more difficult to imagine that happening.