The media is probably wishing it hadn’t launched its latest Corbyn smear

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the Labour Party General Election Launch 2017
Ed Sykes

On 2 April, the right-wing media – led by Guido Fawkes – launched an attack on left-wing Jewish group Jewdas. The reason? Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had attended the group’s Seder (a traditional Passover feast) in Islington. But unfortunately for the pro-Conservative media, the attack on Jewdas is now backfiring rather spectacularly.

A weak and misjudged attack

Guido Fawkes news editor Alex Wickham tweeted that Jewdas was “despised by mainstream Jews” and that Corbyn’s attendance at its Seder would be “very, very difficult for Corbyn to explain”.

But it wasn’t.

Apart from creating an arbitrary division in the Jewish community, Guido Fawkesrevealed‘ that Jewdas was anti-capitalist, critical of Israel’s crimes, and against using antisemitism as a political football. And as Jewish journalist Dimi Reider pointed out, it was hardly surprising that Corbyn would empathise with these positions:

And he clarified:

One Jewdas supporter, meanwhile, said:

Another praised Corbyn and insisted:

Serious backfire…

In fact, by shining a light on Jewdas, Guido Fawkes actually drew attention to the group’s consistent work fighting against antisemitism (on both the right and left):

Jewdas supporters speak up

But Jewdas isn’t just a group fighting against antisemitism. It is also a place where left-wing Jews can come together without fear of judgement. For that reason, Jewdas supporters have spoken out on Twitter about just how much the group means to them:

Young Labour women’s officer Charlotte Nichols, meanwhile, wrote on LabourList:

Last night I attended a Seder to celebrate the Jewish festival of Pesach (Passover), held in Islington by a group called Jewdas…

It is not for non-Jewish people, in criticising Corbyn’s attendance, to determine what is and isn’t a legitimate expression of the Jewish faith. Many of the criticisms I’ve seen are themselves anti-Semitic. For those in the community who want to paint Jeremy’s attendance as an act of provocation, rather than an attempt to listen, engage, and share our festival with us, it’s actually just alienating many young Jewish people further and validating Jewdas’ very existence.

And she insisted:

It’s absolutely right that, particularly when some community gatekeepers are refusing to meet with Corbyn, he nonetheless shows willingness to engage with the community at all levels, to listen and to learn, and be a gracious guest. If you want to see this for yourself, do as Jewdas did and simply invite him.

Corbyn has consistently made his opposition to antisemitism clear, and his attendance at the Jewdas Seder was a sign of his willingness to listen and engage with the Jewish community. The cynical attempts by the right-wing media to use antisemitism as a political football, meanwhile, are an absolute disgrace. But fortunately, their latest attack has totally backfired.

Get Involved!

– The Jewdas website is temporarily down due to an apparent surge of interest. But you can see this tweet if you’d like to show the group your support. Also see Jewdas’s official response and statement on the Guido Fawkes attack.

– Support The Canary, so we can keep exposing the propaganda and hypocrisy of political and media elites.

– Support the work of Hope Not Hate and the Stop Funding Hate campaign. Demand that advertisers withdraw funding from newspapers and websites that promote hate speech.

Featured image via Sophie Brown/Wikimedia Commons

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