Corbyn under fire over anti-Semitic mural Facebook post
Jeremy Corbyn’s office has been condemned by one MP for a ‘wholly inadequate’ response to the row.
Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire over his apparent support for an artist behind an anti-Semitic mural on a London street.
The Labour leader was challenged by some of his own MPs over his response to a Facebook post by the street artist Mear One about the plan to paint over the work.
Mr Corbyn’s response suggested the artist was “in good company” because the Rockefeller family had covered over a mural featuring Lenin in their New York development.
Tomorrow they want to buff my mural Freedom Of Expression. London Calling, Public artPosted by MEAR ONE on Monday, October 1, 2012
In his post responding to the imminent destruction of the mural, Mr Corbyn said: “Why? You are in good company. Rockerfeller (sic) destroyed Diego Viera’s mural because it includes a picture of Lenin.”
It is understood that at the time of the post in 2012, Mr Corbyn did not condone the artwork but was expressing concerns about free speech.
A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: “In 2012, Jeremy was responding to concerns about the removal of public art on grounds of freedom of speech.
“However, the mural was offensive, used anti-Semitic imagery, which has no place in our society, and it is right that it was removed.”
But Labour MP Luciana Berger – who highlighted the post by Mr Corbyn – hit out at the “wholly inadequate” response.
She said: “It fails to understand on any level the hurt and anguish felt about anti-Semitism. I will be raising this further.”
The response from the Spokesperson is wholly inadequate. It fails to understand on any level the hurt and anguish felt about Antisemitism. I will be raising this further.— Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) March 23, 2018
Luton South MP Gavin Shuker said: “It’s impossible to confront anti-Semitism in our party if this is the response from the very top.”
It isn’t even an apology. I know this is like screaming into the wind; it’ll make zero difference; but I want to state that this is just so wrong.— Gavin Shuker MP (@gavinshuker) March 23, 2018
It’s impossible to confront anti-semitism in our party if this is the response from the very top. https://t.co/Z1hs7y7Y1u
The Jewish Labour Movement said: “Anti-Semitic art is anti-Semitism.
“History is littered with imagery that has reaffirmed the worst kinds of racial stereotypes and led to the worst kinds of racial discrimination.
“It cannot be defended under any circumstances. Not by anyone and least of all the leader of the Labour Party.”
Statement: Antisemitic art is antisemitism. It cannot be defended under any circumstances. pic.twitter.com/kiVDNerQgM— Jewish Labour Movement (@JewishLabour) March 23, 2018
The mural, in east London, was painted by Mear One – whose real name is Kalen Ockerman – and depicted a group of businessmen playing a Monopoly-style game on a board balanced on the backs of people.
The artist denied being anti-Semitic, saying the mural is about “class and privilege” and contains a group of bankers”made up of Jewish and white Anglos”.