Jeremy Corbyn criticised for endorsing book which claimed Jews control banks and the press

Posted On: 
1st May 2019

Jeremy Corbyn heaped praise on a book which suggested banks and the media were controlled by Jews, it has emerged.

Mr Corbyn wrote a foreword to a reissue of the 1902 book by JA Hobson.
Credit: 
PA

In 2011 the then-Labour backbencher wrote a foreword to a reissue of JA Hobson's 'Imperialism: A Study', which argues that finance in Europe was controlled "by men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them many centuries of financial experience".

Mr Corbyn described the economist's influential 1902 book as a "great tome" - despite the fact it highlights well-known anti-semitic conspiracy theories about the Rothschild banking family.

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A Labour spokesperson said Mr Corbyn "completely rejects the anti-semitic elements" of the author's analysis.

Last month two Labour candidates for local elections were suspended for sharing conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds on social media.

The book asks: "Does anyone seriously suppose that a great war could be undertaken by any European State, or a great State loan subscribed, if the house of Rothschild and its connections set their face against it?"

And it claims that "great financial houses" enjoy "control which they exercise over the body of public opinion through the Press".

In his foreword to the 2011 edition, Mr Corbyn praises the "great tome" and flags the author's "correct and prescient" passages "railing against the commercial interests that fuel the role of the popular press with tales of imperial might".

He also highlight's the author's "brilliant" analysis of Western imperialism at the turn of the 20th century and notes that it was "very controversial at the time".

The comments were brought to light in a Times column by Conservative peer Daniel Finkelstein.

MP Ian Austin, who quit Labour over its handling of anti-semitism, hit out at the Mr Corbyn over the comments.

He said: "Decent people will be sickened to see him describing as 'brilliant' a book by someone who pushed deeply and clearly racist theories about Jewish people.

"Labour members have been suspended for retweeting Rothschild conspiracy theories - and this man has written a whole foreword!"

Euan Philipps, of the Labour Against Anti-Semitism campaign group, meanwhile said: "The revelation Jeremy Corbyn wrote the foreword for a reportedly deeply anti-Semitic book is damning and damaging."

A Labour Party spokesman said: “Jeremy praised the Liberal Hobson’s century-old classic study of imperialism in Africa and Asia.

"Similarly to other books of its era, Hobson’s work contains outdated and offensive references and observations, and Jeremy completely rejects the antisemitic elements of his analysis."