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In a letter sent to the former Chief Rabbi this morning, the historically anti-Corbyn Labour Peer wrote that he ‘deplore[d]’ Lord Sacks’ controversial comparison.
Adonis’ letter goes on to question whether Lord Sacks had even read Enoch Powell’s infamous ‘Rivers of Blood Speech’, before slamming the former Chief Rabbi’s rhetoric by stating:
“I do not see how you can even remotely compare this to the remarks you cite made by Jeremy Corbyn.”
Adonis’ astonishing letter then finishes by effectively labelling the former Chief Rabbi as a ‘voice for extremism‘.
Lord Adonis has been previously been an outspoken of Jeremy Corbyn, even calling for his resignation in 2016, and so his latest attack on Lord Sacks’ anti-Corbyn rhetoric marks an astonishing development in the Labour antisemitism row.
The full text of Lord Adonis’ letter to Lord Sacks reads:
I so rarely do anything other than admire and indeed repeat & recite what you say that it really pains me to say this – but I deplore your ‘rivers of blood’ remarks this past week.
I thought you might have understandably, given recent events, have ‘let rip’ to a journalist in your initial remarks, but after your interview on The Marr programme yesterday, I realise you really meant them.
Have you read Enoch Powell’s speech? not just ‘rivers of blood’ but the ‘black man’ with ‘the whip hand over the white man’ – a horrendous appeal to racial violence and hatred.
I do not see how you can remotely compare this to the remarks you cite by Jeremy Corbyn.
I do not defend those remarks, but they have no point of context with Powell in their language, character or intent.
I also think that by invoking Powell in this way you encourage and indeed stoke the very social animosities that I know you not only deplore but have spent a lifetime fighting.
This is in no way [reduces] my very great respect for you. Maybe this is another exhibition of the worsening of political and social language in Britain under the strain of bitter controversies.
But I feel we should be voice for moderation, not extremism.
My letter to Lord Sacks pic.twitter.com/xMb3gGEMKb
— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) September 3, 2018
The fact that a prominent anti-Corbyn Labour Peer has chosen to hit out at the former Chief Rabbi’s controversial rhetoric marks a significant moment in the Labour antisemitism row.
Until now, Labour’s so-called ‘moderate’ wing has been firmly behind the mainstream Jewish establishment in their ongoing criticism of Jeremy Corbyn – even continuing to back the Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge after she ramped up the rhetoric to extraordinary levels by comparing Labour’s disciplinary procedure to the Nazi Germany.
But now, Lord Adonis’ astonishing attack on Lord Sacks has sparked a backlash from arch-Corbyn critics in the media.
The Daily Mail hack, Dan Hodges, responded to Adonis’ letter by accusing the Labour Peer of treating the Jewish community as ‘collateral damage’ in an attempt to ‘form an alliance‘ with ‘moderate Corbynites‘ to try and change Labour’s position on a People’s Vote:
Just seen @Andrew_Adonis letter to Lord Sacks. I though this might happen. Some of the Kamikaze Remainers are trying to form an alliance with what they see as moderate Corbynites over People's Vote. So the Jewish community are going to be treated as collateral damage.
— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) September 3, 2018
In addition to Hodges’ attack, other Establishment figures were also furious that Adonis had effectively defended Jeremy Corbyn by denouncing Lord Sacks’ ‘extremist’ rhetoric:
And to imply that Lord Sacks is a voice for “extremism” is, frankly, shameful. I would also point out that the “we” is not appropriate. Lord S is the leader of a religious community under attack. Lord Adonis is a Labour peer. Their roles are not the same.
— Jamie Susskind (@jamiesusskind) September 3, 2018
Last year it was widely reported that you compared Brexit to appeasement of the Nazis in the 30s.
I'm willing to bet Lord Sacks didn't write you a letter about what he must have seen as an awful comparison. He certainly didn't publish it.
A Jewish Remainer https://t.co/mdvTpLLi9u
— Daniel Sugarman is missing chametz (@Daniel_Sugarman) September 3, 2018
Whatever Lord Adonis’ motivation for sending the letter denouncing Lord Sacks, the fact that a prominent ‘moderate’ Labour Peer has come out to attack this latest ramping up of rhetoric from a prominent figure in the Jewish community against Jeremy Corbyn is a truly astonishing development in the Labour antisemitism row.