Learning Curve

Democratic Jewish group warns party against adopting Corbynism


Democratic Majority for Israel supporters at the 2019 California Democratic Party convention.

The defeat of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K. election last month has prompted the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) advocacy group to warn Democratic party leaders of similar consequences if it embraces Corbyn’s views. 

Data crunch: In a report, expected to be sent to party leaders and activists and shared in advance with Jewish Insider, DMFI maintains — based on post-election analysis and polling data — that Corbyn’s record on handling antisemitism was a key factor in Labour’s defeat. “A few U.S. Democrats have put Corbyn on a pedestal and expressed a desire for our party to follow the path he traversed, including his anti-Zionist antisemitism,” the report says. “While such a move would be morally reprehensible, the British election results strongly suggest it would also be politically suicidal.”

Mark Mellman, a pollster and CEO of the organization, said in an interview with JI that — without naming names — the people calling Corbyn a positive model for Democrats to follow are in the minority. Nonetheless, “it was also a relatively small minority when Jeremy Corbyn started out. It wasn’t that long ago you had Tony Blair as one of the most pro-Israel prime ministers in history, and in a relatively short time his views on these issues have been completely repudiated and replaced by the Corbyn view. So it was a dramatic change in a very short time.”

Red light warning: Mellman said that he spoke to several MPs who quit Labour last year, noting that they acknowledged that the change within the party happened quickly. “‘And you,’ they said to me, ‘should be very wary, because we believe that we’re seeing the beginning of what we saw in the U.K again in the Democratic Party in the U.S.’” 

Looking ahead: Mellman said while he expects there to be a fight over the party’s 2020 platform later this year, “I don’t expect the outcome to be a Corbyn platform under any circumstances. But the further the party moves in that direction, the worse it is for the party, and we are making every effort to prevent those changes from happening.” 

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.