Europe

Labour in Fresh Antisemitism Row Over Corbyn Endorsing Book About Jews Controlling Banks, Press

In a fresh row over anti-Jewish sentiments in the British Labour Party, leader Jeremy Corbyn has been slammed for writing the foreword to a recent edition of a century-old book which contains overtly anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories.

In 2011, Corbyn agreed to endorse a new edition of JA Hobson’s 1902 book Imperialism: A Study. In his foreword, the Labour leader described the book as “a great tome” and praised the writer’s “brilliant, and very controversial” analysis.

In the book, the far-left economist argued that banks and the press were controlled by Jews. Corbyn claimed that Hobson’s observations about the press — in a passage in which the author declared that “great financial houses” have “control which they exercise over the body of public opinion through the Press” — were “correct and prescient.”

Using classic anti-Semitic tropes, Hobson charged that the financial sector in Europe was controlled “by men of a singular and peculiar race who have behind them many centuries of financial experience” and “are in a unique position to control the policy of nations.”

Veering deep into anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, the author charged that no European country would engage in a great war “if the house of Rothschild and its connections set their face against it.”

In a widely criticized interview with the BBC, Labour business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey insisted that Corbyn had not condoned anti-Semitic tropes and laughed off the allegations. Despite admitting that she had not read the book, Long-Bailey claimed the Labour leader had merely shared his “wider thought” around Western imperialism.

In a letter, the Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said that Hobson’s argument was “unequivocal racism and there can be no apology for it.”

Independent MP Ian Austin, who quit Labour over handling of anti-Semitism allegations, observed that Corbyn “endorsed [a] book that peddles racist stereotypes of Jewish financiers and imperialism as ‘brilliant’ and a ‘great tome.’” He concluded: “He attacked the USA and Nato, but defended the Soviet Union and Venezuela. He is completely unfit to lead the Labour party.”

[Photo: Official Jeremy Corbyn Channel / YouTube]