The Simon Wiesenthal Center named UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as its the top anti-Semitic person or event for 2019, and warned that Britain would become a “pariah” if it elects the hard-left leader as prime minister this week.
Jewish groups and others have rung alarm bells over the prospect of Corbyn’s promotion to 10 Downing Street with increasing distress as the December 12 British election has approached, accusing him of allowing a massive rise in anti-Semitism within the ranks of the party and of being anti-Semitic himself.
“‘No one has done more to mainstream antisemitism into the political and social life of a democracy than the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, the head of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the British Daily Mail.
“If Jeremy Corbyn wins, he will make Britain a pariah on the world stage,” Hier said. “To have a person seeking the highest office who ignored anti-Semitism for years, who did everything in his power to encourage it is shocking.”
Hier, whose center is named for the famous Nazi Hunter Wiesenthal, also appeared to compare the dangers of Corbyn to those of Nazi Germany, saying people cannot stay silent. “We don’t want to get it wrong again. We cannot sit back and watch this happen again.”
This is not the first time Corbyn has found himself on the annual list, which also includes anti-Israel events. In 2016, Labour anti-Semitism under Corbyn was listed as No. 2 by the Center, behind the US abstention on a UN vote on West Bank settlements. In 2017, Labour anti-Semitism placed 10th and last year Corbyn was listed as No. 4.
The list is normally published in late December or early January; the earlier release this year may have been timed to come out ahead of the upcoming UK vote.
Corbyn’s placement on the list was first reported by the conservative Mail on Sunday tabloid, which devoted a full page to it.
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Corbyn’s placement on the list puts him ahead of John Earnest, a far-right gunman accused of opening fire inside a California synagogue in April, killing one.
Labour responded by calling the ranking ” ridiculous and grossly offensive.”
“Putting Jeremy Corbyn at the head of a list containing neo-Nazi synagogue shooters is a transparent political attack and has nothing to do with tackling antisemitism,” a spokesperson said, according to the Mail.
On Thursday, a dossier from the Jewish Labour Movement accused Corbyn of personally engaging in anti-Semitism in nine separate cases.
The accusation was featured in a damning 53-page report filed to a body tasked with probing anti-Semitism within the UK’s main opposition party.
Thousands of cases of alleged hate speech against Jews have been recorded within Labour since 2015, when Corbyn was elected to lead it. The party is currently being formally investigated by the UK’s anti-racism watchdog.
Corbyn has insisted that he is not anti-Semitic and his party has dealt with the problem. Last week, he said he was “sorry for everything that has happened” regarding the ongoing tensions between his Labour Party and the British Jewish community, after earlier refusing to say so when repeatedly asked by the BBC’s Andrew Neil.
Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson ha refused to be interviewed by Neil.
Last month, Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis took an unprecedented stand urging voters to see the “new poison” that has taken root in the Labour party, and expressing fear for the fate of Jews in the country should Corbyn become prime minister.
Much of the worry over Corbyn is spurred by revelations about his record that have emerged since he became Labour leader. These include him describing Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”; defending an anti-Semitic mural in East London; and a seeming willingness to associate with alleged anti-Semites, terrorists, and Holocaust-deniers.
The Britain Elects poll aggregator has put the Conservatives on 42 percent, Labour on 33 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 13 percent.
Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the snap election — the third in Britain in nearly five years — last month to try to get a parliamentary majority which would enable him to secure backing for his Brexit deal.
Agencies contributed to this report.