Labour’s leader should own his mistakes – but he has been on the right side of history more often than many of his critics
On 18 March 2008, during a media feeding frenzy about statements made by his radical Chicago pastor, Jeremiah Wright, presidential hopeful Barack Obama gave a speech in Philadelphia. His aim was to lay out his candidacy and experiences within the context of America’s racial history. Jeremy Corbyn needs to make a similar intervention over accusations of antisemitism. This is the speech he should, and could, give.
For as long as I can remember, anti-racism and internationalism have been a central part of my life. My parents met at a rally supporting Spanish Republicans who were fighting General Franco’s fascists – a crucial episode in the spread of fascism across Europe that saw Hitler’s rise and all the carnage that came with it. My politics were shaped by a leftwing tradition that had a clear notion that injustice could not be tolerated – and that principle was as crucial to defend abroad as it was at home.
Labour does not have the antisemitism problem that many in the media and the political class accuse us of having