Jewish dismay increases after the Peterborough by-election

Jun 7, 2019 by

by Melanie Phillips:

The Brexit Party narrowly lost yesterday’s Peterborough by-election by 683 votes.

[…]  In Peterborough, Labour threw absolutely everything at keeping the seat. The fledgling Brexit Party couldn’t begin to match Labour’s organisation on the ground. Which is probably why it didn’t win. But its failure to break through and thus shatter the credibility problem once and for all is a definite setback.

Of scarcely less concern, however, is the Labour candidate Peterborough has now elected, Lisa Forbes. For during the campaign, she was outed as having “liked” antisemitic posts on social media.

She had “liked” a claim that the prime minister, Theresa May, had a “Zionist Slave Masters agenda”. In addition, beneath a post whose author championed conspiracy theories that Islamic extremists were created by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad, Forbes wrote: “I’ve enjoyed reading this so much”.

Forbes has already apologised, terming antisemitism “abhorrent” and saying of the “slave masters” post that she had merely “liked” a video of children praying about the atrocities that had happened in New Zealand and “hadn’t paid much attention to the text above it”.

“I apologise for that and I’m really sorry and I just hope that people will understand that I don’t have a bad bone in my body towards any race of people and antisemitism is something that I condemn completely”.

This all sounds remarkably similar to Corbyn’s own explanation, when confronted with his support for a rabidly antisemitic mural that had been destroyed because it depicted grotesquely caricatured Jewish capitalists making money on the backs of the poor, that he hadn’t noticed the picture because he was only concerned with the issue of freedom of speech.

Jewish groups had called for Forbes to be deselected. The Jewish Labour Movement refused to canvass for her. In a joint statement, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust questioned her suitability for public office, saying her claim not to have seen the words “stretches the limits of credulity”.

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