Last week, Peter Brookes tweeted his latest cartoon for The Times, commenting:
#Novichok not the only poison being spread around Britain. #LabourAntisemitism #Corbyn.
Referencing allegations that two Russian agents had been responsible for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4, the cartoon depicted a British policeman holding up mugshots of a menacing, bug-eyed ‘Jeremy Korbynski’ (wearing an ‘I Love Hamas’ badge) and a vampiric, evil-looking ‘Seumasov Milne’ (wearing a ‘Down With Israel’ badge), with the policeman saying:
THESE TWO MEN ARE SUSPECTED OF SPREADING POISON AROUND BRITAIN…
As Brookes made clear in his tweet, the alleged ‘poison’ Corbyn and Milne, Labour’s director of communications, are supposedly spreading is, of course, antisemitism.
We have always been struck by the sense of complete unreality surrounding this debate and decided to check when and how often Corbyn has been accused of antisemitism since first being elected as an MP in 1983.
Labour was defeated in the general election of May 7, 2015, causing leader Ed Miliband to resign. On June 3, the BBC reported that Corbyn had joined the contest to replace him. We monitored this period closely and it is simply unarguable that Corbyn was portrayed by journalists, and even party political foes, as a basically decent person. He was depicted as a left relic, certainly – irrelevant and ridiculous – but also as…