Comments made by British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in 2013 that “British Zionists do not understand British irony” have resurfaced, adding fuel to the fire as British Jews remain increasingly apprehensive of the controversial contender for the British premiership.
The British Daily Mail published Corbyn’s comments, given at a conference in Friends House in Euston in 2013. The conference was attended by Islamic extremists and was featured on the website of Hamas's military wing. Among those attending were known anti-Semites, homophobes, and conspiracy theorists.
During his remarks at the conference, Corbyn, who was elected Labour Party leader in 2015, said that “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. They need two lessons, which we could perhaps help them with.”
Members of the British Jewish community were outraged by the comment. Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, said it “shows the reality of what Jeremy Corbyn thinks of Jews, somehow a breed apart from ‘normal’ English people."
Pollard added that he believed the Corbyn used the word "Zionist" to mean "Jews."
“The idea that British Jews somehow haven't absorbed British values is outrageous,” said Jonathan Sacerdoti, a founding trustee of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, and an anti-racism campaigner.
“To doubt our Britishness because we disagree with your controversial views on Palestine, when you are the one fraternizing with extremists, is deeply anti-Semitic. British Jews are right to be scared,” he added.
Corbyn's name has been repeatedly linked to anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli comments and events.
Earlier this week, the British media reported that he participated in a 2012 conference atteded by Hamas terrorists, some released as part of the 2011 Shalit deal. Corbyn described their words as "fascinating and electrifying."
Corbyn wrote in the Morning Star newspaper in praise of the conference, calling the terrorists "brothers” and glorifying their speeches.