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01st May 2019

Jeremy Corbyn denounces anti-Semitic tropes in Hobson’s ‘Imperialism’

The Labour leader responds to calls for him to explain his foreword in a book containing anti-Semitic tropes

Oli Dugmore

Jeremy Corbyn responds to criticism for writing the foreword for a book containing anti-Semitic tropes written by JA Hobson called 'Imperialism: A Study'

The Labour leader responds to calls for him to explain his foreword in a book advocating conspiracy theories about Jews

Jeremy Corbyn has denounced the anti-Semitic language used in a book which alleged Jews control the banks and press, despite the fact he provided a foreword for its 2011 edition.

He was a Labour backbencher at the time.

‘Imperialism: A Study’ by JA Hobson argues the financial institutions responsible for European imperialism were “controlled… chiefly by men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them many centuries of financial experience” and “are in a unique position to manipulate the policy of nations,” before asserting that “no great war” could happen if “the House of Rothschild” was against it.

In his foreword Corbyn described the book as a “great tome” but today told JOE, in an exclusive interview, he finds its anti-Semitic tropes “deplorable.”

Jewish leaders wrote to Corbyn demanding an explanation for his actions, expressing “grave concern.”

The Labour MP for Ilford North, Wes Streeting said his leader had “a responsibility to explain himself.”

Corbyn said: “I wrote the foreword to a book about imperialism which was written in 1902.

“The language in that book to describe minorities is absolutely deplorable and I totally deplore it.

“What my foreword was doing analysing the process which led to the First World War, of the wars between empires in Europe.

“Indeed, that’s what the book was about. Indeed, many, many people have referenced that in speeches they’ve made. Not just me, many, many others.

“The language, deplorable, the ideas behind the analysis of how this continent degenerated into the awfulness of the First World War and the millions who died.

“And of course the First World War, because of the way the end of it was handled, led to directly to the Second World War and the Holocaust.”