Allegations of anti-Semitism in the UK Labour Party are literally rubbish, according to a new video released by party leader Jeremy Corbyn, in which a piece of paper raising concerns about anti-Semitism is physically thrown on the floor.
In the campaign clip below, posted this week on the Labour leader’s official YouTube page, the question of whether Corbyn “promotes antisemitism” is presented as one of five his supporters are “tired of hearing,” complete with responses. One man changes the subject entirely, talking about the Conservative Party’s refusal to admit German and Austrian Jewish refugees in the 1930s. Another claims Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis “boils down” to “accusations” by people who are “losing the political argument” and have “nothing [else] to fight back with.” The clip then concludes with another supporter chucking the scrap of paper with the question onto the floor, saying, “So that’s gone as well.” To further express his disdain, he then places an empty bowl on his head, to applause from the production crew.
This video comes in the final leg of the Labour Party’s leadership election, in which incumbent chairman Jeremy Corbyn is fighting for his political survival. This fresh contest comes barely a year after Corbyn stunned observers by winning a landslide victory in the 2015 Labour leadership election. It was prompted by a mass mutiny by the parliamentary Labour Party in the wake of the British public’s vote to exit the European Union, which Corbyn was accused of secretly supporting. During this summer’s crisis in the UK’s main opposition party, Corbyn lost a no confidence vote by his own MPs by 172 votes to 40, and suffered resignations of virtually his entire frontbench team. With dismal polling numbers and dire approval ratings, the parliamentary Labour Party is desperate for its hard-left chairman to vacate the stage. But with the support of the party base, Corbyn is expected to trounce rival Owen Smith when results are announced on September 24.
This was also a year in which Corbyn—who famously called Hamas and Hezbollah “friends”—faced widespread accusations of anti-Semitism in his party, from former London mayor Ken Livingstone’s (repeated) assertions that Hitler was a Zionist, to claims a senior adviser had censored the words Chag Kasher v’Sameach from Corbyn’s Passover message for fear the use of Hebrew would be seen as “Zionist,” to allegations that Corbyn had awarded a peerage to the author of a party report on anti-Semitism as a reward for reaching exculpatory conclusions.
Corbyn participated in a special debate in London over the weekend, facing an audience of Jewish voters in an attempt to rehabilitate his toxic image (92 percent of the Jewish Labour Movement supports his rival). But with a very visual suggestion that Corbyn considers the concerns of British Jews not worth the paper they are written on—literally so—that reputation can only deteriorate.