Friday 15 November 2019


The Guardian has published an open letter from 24 prominent figures stating their opposition to Jeremy Corbyn.  The list includes actors, writers, journalists, historians and TV presenters.  Their main beef is the rise of anti-Semitism on Corbyn's watch.  It's doubtful anyone would recognise all 24 signatories if they passed them in the street, so we've put their main professions in brackets.

The full text:

The coming election is momentous for every voter, but for British Jews it contains a particular anguish: the prospect of a prime minister steeped in association with antisemitism.  Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour has come under formal investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for institutional racism against Jews.  Two Jewish MPs have been bullied out of the party. Mr Corbyn has a long record of embracing antisemites as comrades.

We listen to our Jewish friends and see how their pain has been relegated as an issue, pushed aside by arguments about Britain’s European future.  For those who insist that Labour is the only alternative to Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit, now, it seems, is not the time for Jewish anxiety.

But antisemitism is central to a wider debate about the kind of country we want to be.  To ignore it because Brexit looms larger is to declare that anti-Jewish prejudice is a price worth paying for a Labour government.  Which other community’s concerns are disposable in this way?  Who would be next?

Opposition to racism cannot include surrender in the fight against antisemitism.  Yet that is what it would mean to back Labour and endorse Mr Corbyn for Downing Street.  The path to a more tolerant society must encompass Britain’s Jews with unwavering solidarity.  We endorse no party.  However, we cannot in all conscience urge others to support a political party we ourselves will not.  We refuse to vote Labour on 12 December.

Antony Beevor (historian)
William Boyd (author)
Simon Callow (actor)
Frederick Forsyth (author)
Peter Frankopan (historian)
Nick Hewer (TV presenter)
Tom Holland (historian)
Ed Husain (writer)
Terry Jervis (writer and TV producer)
Dan Jones (historian)
Oz Katerji (writer and journalist)
John le Carré (author)
Suzannah Lipscomb (historian)
Joanna Lumley (actress)
Fiyaz Mughal (inter-faith activist)
Maajid Nawaz (radio presenter)
Ghanem Nuseibeh (business leader)
Tony Parsons (journalist and broadcaster)
Trevor Phillips (writer, Labour member)
Janina Ramirez (historian)
Sathnam Sanghera (journalist)
Dan Snow (historian and TV presenter)
Jimmy Wales (internet entrepreneur)
Fay Weldon (author)

A Labour spokesman was later quoted by the Guardian:  "It’s extraordinary that several of those who have signed this letter have themselves been accused of antisemitism, Islamophobia and misogyny.  It’s less surprising that a number are Conservatives and Lib Dems."  One signatory expressed his dismay at the Labour response.

The campaign against Corbyn is sure to grow ahead of the election, especially seeing that the party is now creeping up some of the polls.