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New Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn Faces Special Guilt-by-Association Standard

(Photo: Garry Knight/cc/flickr)

For the past month Jeremy Corbyn, the British MP and democratic socialist who just won the election to lead the UK’s Labour Party in a landslide, has been vociferously accused across the British media of associating with political figures who are anti-Semitic.

“The problem,” according to the Community Security Trust, a UK Jewish organization, “is not that Corbyn is an anti-Semite or a Holocaust denier — he is neither. The problem is that he seems to gravitate towards people who are, if they come with an anti-Israel sticker on them.” Similarly, political journalist James Bloodworth wrote in the Guardian, “While I genuinely believe Corbyn does not have an anti-Semitic bone in his body, he does have a proclivity for sharing platforms with individuals who do.” The right-wing Telegraph got so excited it falsely claimed that another Labour MP had accused Corbyn himself of using “anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

Corbyn was forced to repeatedly respond in several venues. Beyond addressing the specific issues, he’s made several statements such as, “I’ve spent my life opposing racism. Until my dying day, I’ll be opposed to racism in any form … Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, far-right racism is totally wrong and absolutely obnoxious and I’ve made that absolutely clear to everybody who will listen to me on this subject.” And Corbyn’s spokesman said that anyone found by the Labour Party’s procedures committee to be responsible for anti-Semitism should not be allowed to vote in the leadership election.

The most interesting part of the Corbyn fracas isn’t whether he’s “guilty” or not. It’s that the British media and politicians have created a guilt-by-association standard that appears to apply to Corbyn and Corbyn alone.

Read the rest of the column at The Intercept.

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