The shock of witnessing Jews demonstrating against anti-Semitism in Labour

People protest about the rise of anti Jewish violence outside the High Court. Credit: PA

To see hundreds of my fellow Jews demonstrating outside parliament against Labour’s failure to purge anti-Semitism from its ranks was extraordinary - in a proper use of that over-used epithet.

The idea that the Jewish community would feel the need to make such a public display of criticism of any of this country’s great historic parties was something I never expected to witness in my lifetime.

My late dad was just one of many Jews out of London’s east end who either found a home in Labour - in his case - or in the Tory party (it is possible to find scriptural and cultural support for both political creeds).

And to be frank, in my lifetime I would have argued there was more prejudice and snobbery in the Tory party against Jews, at least till the advent of Thatcher.

Jeremy Corbyn is criticised for failing to stamp out anti-Semitism within the Labour party. Credit: PA

Now, for those of you assuming today’s rally was some kind of Tory conspiracy, well that is a convenient fiction.

There were plenty of Labour MPs in the crowd showing solidarity with the protesters - and it would be smug, complacent and pernicious to write them off as the usual Corbyn critics (though some like Umunna, Creasy and Kendall are famously not fans of his).

As one member of Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench team said to me, the party has made a grotesque ethical error in not eradicating the cancer of anti-Jewish propaganda masquerading as legitimate criticism of the Israeli government.

Corbyn wrote to Jewish groups today that he will no longer tolerate old-fashioned anti-banker leftie anti-Semitism or more modern anti-Israel anti-Semitism.

But they’ve heard such promises before.

And they perhaps legitimately ask whether this time his words will - at last - be the equivalent of Mosaic law.