James Marlow, former head of news at the UK’s The Jewish Weekly, member of the Conservative Party, has commented on the report.
Sputnik: The Community Security Trust, which protects the Jewish community in the UK, has said that the rise of anti-Semitism over the last six months partly reflects the news being dominated by anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. How do you estimate the current situation in the Labour Party in comparison with previous years?
James Marlow: Well, generally, the Labour Party in the United Kingdom has been supported by a lot of the Jewish community. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was a good friend of the Jewish people. The prime minister before that, Tony Blair, was a very good friend of the Jewish community.
In fact, he recently said in a television interview that he could not commit to voting for the Labour Party at the next general election under Jeremy Corbyn because of the anti-Semitism. But even if you look back beforehand, when the Labour Party was quite socialist, under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown they became much more moderate, and some said they were sort of conservative – in other words, they believed very much in business and they moved away from socialism.
But James Callaghan, a former prime minister, Harold Wilson a former Labour prime minister – all of them were very, very good friends of the Jewish community.
It is just since Jeremy Corbyn has stepped forward. He had a very strong reputation of being extremely anti-Israel; his attitude towards Israel was extreme, if I may say so. As a result, this attracted a lot of people who were never Labour Party supporters. They were communists, they were Marxists; they were the far-left Socialist Party who joined the Labour Party because Jeremy Corbyn was head of it.
And they felt comfortable – these are the new Labour Party members – they felt comfortable by saying anti-Semitic things, like for example: the Jews control the media; the Jews control the banks – the name Rothschild is mentioned many times – the Jewish people are the ones who have an influence in governments; they are the ones who start the wars. And this is classic anti-Semitism, for hundreds and hundreds of years.
So many of these people who were writing this on social media accounts were people who were either connected with the Labour Party, were members of the Labour Party, or they were even candidates, and in some cases they were councillors and members of the parliament.
Sputnik: In the first six months of 2019, 892 anti-Semitic incidents were reported. This is 10 percent more than the total recorded for the whole of 2018, and the highest for any six-month period. In your view, what are the main reasons behind the rise in anti-Semitism in the UK? Who is responsible?
James Marlow: Despite the fact it was 892 incidents recorded by the Community Security Trust, there were a further 270 reports of potential anti-Semitic incidents. They were looked into and they were deemed to be not anti-Semitic, but they were incidents like certain suspicious activity or suspicious behaviour around Jewish locations, and criminal activity.
One thing which is important to note when it comes to these figures, and I was looking at the CST report earlier – it says, for example, some of these incidents occur on social media. For example, a known Jewish person, whether he or she be a member of Parliament or a member of the community, or somebody who is known to be Jewish, would be specifically targeted on, say for example, Twitter by thousands of different accounts and they get messages, or pictures or images, literally hundreds, sometimes thousands of times, of all different types of anti-Semitic material.
That, according to the CST, is only counted as one incident. So potentially, there could be many, many more incidents than the 892 recorded by the CST.
One of the main reasons, I believe, is the internet. The internet, and the emergence and the creativity of this World Wide Web, has done amazing things for many different people: knowledge and information is right at your fingertips, right in front of your eyes. But it has also got a disadvantage because some of the bad people in the world are now able to link up with each other much greater than they were beforehand. So, for example, in America there has always been a very small, but prominent American Nazi Party; there have been specifically neo-Nazis across places in Europe: in Germany, in France, in Poland, in Hungary, and other places around the world.
These groups, through the might of the internet, through social media accounts, through groups, are able to link up and be part of what is known as the dark web and therefore they can coordinate their activity in a much greater way, because the organisation has grown.
Sputnik: Taking into consideration all the moves by Jewish rights organisations, are there any actions being taken at the state level to combat the growing anti-Semitism in the UK?
James Marlow: As you know, we have a new government here in the UK; it is newly appointed by Conservative members. We have a new prime minister and they have something else on the agenda right now, because of Brexit. Therefore a lot of the focus is not being put towards these incidents at this point. But the good thing about this is that the home secretary, who Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed, is somebody known as a good friend of the Jewish community and a good friend of Israel – her name is Priti Patel; she has a lot of sympathy with the situation. Not just, by the way, against the Jewish community, but also against other ethnic minorities; because there are some quite extreme attacks against Muslims in the UK and attacks against other ethnic minorities.
But it is true to say that because of the new leadership within the Labour Party and the fact that the hard left, the hard socialist left within the Labour Party, has now completely taken over the executive of the Labour Party and the running of the Labour Party, and they make all the rules, and this is even across the constituencies across the country, the local municipalities, where the Labour Party controls this. So even hard-left members have joined their local associations and are ousting out the Labour members of parliament that they do not like.
At the same time, the Conservative Party will obviously, if necessary, have to take some steps. But let’s be fair, they do. For example, the money that runs the CST came from David Cameron when he became prime minister. Theresa May took over, I think it is 13.5 million pounds per year that the government gives to the Jewish community through the CST, so that each synagogue on a Saturday will have one guard outside. So that applies to every Jewish institution, schools, and other Jewish buildings, they have one guard outside once a week, sometimes twice a week. To the best of my knowledge, no other ethnic minority in the UK has this much security.
Yes, some mosques have security, but it is normally done by their own people. In this particular case, every single synagogue, pretty much, has security liaisons inside or outside the synagogues – and this is done partly because of government money. So there is support from the Conservative government; I am not sure if Jeremy Corbyn would come into power whether that would continue.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.