‘Show contrition and humility’
09 August, 2019
• OF Kenyan descent, I was born, brought up in and have been a long-term resident of Islington where my MP has been Jeremy Corbyn.
I’ve voted for him in general elections and I’ve met him at community events. He has helped me with different issues, one was to do with a racist issue, which he dealt with very well. I’ve always found him hard-working, approachable and responsive.
I was very happy when he became leader of the Labour Party, I’ve always felt we shared the same values and that he is someone who wants equality and social justice and will fight tooth and nail for the needy in society.
My work in social care brought me into contact with the Jewish community. I feel a great affinity with the Jewish faith and I am currently going through the arduous process of converting to Orthodox Judaism.
I was shocked, as I started attending the synagogue and Shabbat meals, that Jeremy Corbyn would come up repeatedly, and always negatively and associated with anti-Semitism – prejudice against Jews.
I do not know if he understands this, but his readiness to associate with extreme voices in the debate about Israel and the Palestinians terrifies ordinary British Jews.
I am an artist and to give sales of a book I had illustrated a boost I had included a picture of Jeremy and myself at the back. Jeremy brought one of the first editions at a Black History Month event in Islington.
When I showed the book to my Jewish friends in Golders Green, I discovered that young children were terrified of Jeremy. I was asked not to say his name in my friend’s home. It was considered a swear word.
I don’t think Jeremy fully comprehends the fear and dismay his approach to the issue of Israel and his inaction on anti-Semitism have caused.
I plead with him now, even at this 11th hour in the crisis between Labour and the Jewish community, to show contrition and humility, really engage with Jewish community leaders, really listen to Jewish fears, make clear the red lines in the debate about Israel, and take decisive action to expel anti-Semites from Labour.