November 27, 2019

In Blog


Frank Land OBE is a distinguished Jewish academic: the UK’s first professor of Information Systems and currently Emeritus Professor of Information Systems at the London School of Economics.

He writes:

Let’s start living in the real world. In a response to an attack on myself and my views I was asked to apologise for opposing the condemnation of Jeremy Corbyn and the institutional Anti-Semitism of the Labour Party. My response included the following:
Perhaps it would be useful to outline where my understanding of anti-Semitism comes from.

• As a boy of 9, I witnessed the State-sponsored Kristallnacht in Berlin.

• A little earlier the German State confiscated my Father’s engineering business.

• Every member of our Family had to wear a yellow star and were debarred from sitting on designated park benches plus other discriminatory regulations.

• My Mother’s parents died in Theresienstadt though we don’t know if they were killed or died of neglect.

• One Uncle spent time in Dachau Concentration Camp and another died of ill-health after years of forced (slave) labour.

• My large extended family was scattered across the world, including Israel, as refugees.

Of course many, many Jewish families fared much worse.

What I witnessed was institutional anti-Semitism and very clearly an existential threat to the Jewish Community. Are you, or the Chief Rabbi, telling me that Corbyn or the Labour Party poses any similar threat or even the threat of state sponsored discrimination against Jews? Or would tolerate discrimination of any sort against Jews?

We as Jews with our experience through the centuries must be the first to see and fight against racism wherever it crops up and whatever group it is directed at – Jew Palestinian, or whoever. In the 1930s and World War II Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust was the by far the most important and heart-breaking racialist motivated issue and we applaud all those who stood on the barricades with us. But in more recent decades it is not Jews who were the main targets, though Anti-Semitism continued in many communities including most political parties.

Corbyn, not surprisingly, focussed on some of these issues. He is now attacked because he called- out discrimination and deprivation against Palestinians But nothing he has said or done make him other than enemy of discrimination and oppression. If he perceived a threat to Jews from based on Anti-Semitic attitudes he would be the first on the barricades defending the Jews.

Frank Land OBE

The photo is of Frank (on the right) with his twin brother Ralph at their joint 90th birthday party last year