Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote a foreword to a book which argued that Jews controlled banks and the media.
Conservative peer and Times columnist Daniel Finkelstein uncovered the foreword written in 2011 by the Labour leader to the new edition of British economist John A Hobson’s 1902 book Imperialism: A Study, which includes antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories about the Rothschild banking family.
In the forward, written four years before the far-leftist became party leader, Mr Corbyn described Imperialism as a “great tome” which was “brilliant, and very controversial at the time.”
Hobson was an influence on Lenin and other Marxists and in the book described European finance as being controlled by “men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them many centuries of financial experience”, and claimed that “great financial houses” have “control which they exercise over the body of public opinion through the Press.”
At one point, the author asks, “Does anyone seriously suppose that a great war could be undertaken by any European State, or a great State loan subscribed, if the house of Rothschild and its connections set their face against it?”
In an earlier book from 1900, The War in South Africa: Its Causes and Effects, Hobson had blamed the Boer War between Great Britain and Afrikaner settlers on “a small group of international financiers, chiefly German in origin and Jewish in race”, claiming that “the stock exchange is needless to say, mostly Jewish… the press of Johannesburg is chiefly their property.”
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The Board of Deputies of British Jews expressed “grave concerns” about Corbyn’s foreword and said that the argument put forward in the 1902 book that Jews controlled the media and banking institutions was “pure and unequivocal racism.”
The spokesman for Labour Against Antisemitism, Euan Philipps, called it “damning and damaging.”
Labour has faced a series of accusations of antisemitism since Mr Corbyn took over the party in 2015. In response to The Times‘s latest revelation, a party spokesman said: “Jeremy praised the Liberal Hobson’s century-old classic study of imperialism in Africa and Asia. Similarly to other books of its era, Hobson’s work contains outdated and offensive references and observations, and Jeremy completely rejects the antisemitic elements of his analysis.”
Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey defended her party leader, saying he was praising Hobson’s wider political points, “not comments that were antisemitic. Jeremy is not unlike other politicians who have quoted Hobson in speeches and written pieces about them.”
However, Labour MP Margaret Hodge told The Jerusalem Post that the endorsement expressed Corbyn’s “tolerance of antisemitic views” and demonstrated how the Labour leader “has completely ignored blatant antisemitism.”
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