(JTA) – Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former British chief rabbi, warned in an interview that Jewish people are making plans to leave Britain over fears of an anti-Semitic backlash precipitated by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Sacks said Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that “when people hear the kind of language that has been coming out of Labour, that’s been brought to the surface among Jeremy Corbyn’s earlier speeches, they cannot but feel an existential threat.”
He also said, “Jews have been in Britain since 1656 – I know of no other occasion in these 362 years when Jews, the majority of our community, are worrying, ‘Is this country safe to bring up our children?’”
In an interview last week, Sacks labelled Corbyn an “anti-Semite” and called his rhetoric “dangerous.” He compared Corbyn’s speech from 2013 in which he said that “Zionists” were unable to understand British ways of thinking despite growing up in the country to the anti-immigration “Rivers of Blood” speech made in 1968 by Conservative British lawmaker Enoch Powell.
On Sunday, Sacks noted that he has not issued a party political statement in his 30 years in public life.
“I had to issue a warning – anti-Semitism has returned to mainland Europe within living memory of the Holocaust,” the rabbi said.
“Anyone who befriends Hamas and Hezbollah, anyone who uses the term ‘Zionist’ loosely without great care, is in danger of engulfing Britain in the kind of flames of hatred that have reappeared throughout Europe and is massively irresponsible,” he added.