Former Faithless guitarist Dave Randall has defended Jeremy Corbyn against allegations of anti-Semitism, and says his supporters in the music industry are “unlikely to be persuaded” by criticism of him in the press.
Corbyn is facing multiple accusations of being an anti-Semite after old footage and images were unearthed of him spending time with Palestinian campaigners with links to Hamas, and making remarks about British Zionists in a speech in 2013.
However, his support in the music industry doesn’t appear to be waning.
'Corbyn has the best credentials to fight racism'
Last year, the ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ chant became a regular occurrence at festivals and gigs, Corbyn appeared on the cover of NME and Kerrang! Magazines, and the Labour Party was endorsed by several artists from all corners of the industry, including rappers JME and Akala, rock band Architects and Matt Healy of The 1975.
Randall, who was in Faithless from 1996-1999 and again from 2004-2011, told talkRADIO that Corbyn has continually fought racism.
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“The left wing fans, people who’ve been active politically before, they know Corbyn has been absolutely the best credentials in the House of Commons when it comes to fighting against racism in all its forms, and indeed fighting against racism in general,” he said.
“People my age will remember him marching with us against the Iraq War in 2003, people younger than us will have seen pictures of him being arrested on social media for campaigning against apartheid in the 1980s, when, by the way, the Conservative Government supported apartheid and described Nelson Mandela as a terrorist.”
Corbyn was arrested in 1984 for protesting outside South Africa House, and told the Commons in 2013 during tributes to Nelson Mandela that he and his companions were “all exonerated on the grounds of our moral outrage apartheid, all given compensation, and all that compensation was given to the ANC and the anti-apartheid movement.
Watch Corbyn telling the Commons about his arrest. Video: Jeremy Corbyn/YouTube
May dodges question about Nelson Mandela
During her visit to South Africa, Theresa May was questioned by Channel 4 News on whether she agreed with Margaret Thatcher’s assertion that Mandela was a terrorist.
She responded: “What was important was the support the UK government was giving at the time, often behind the scenes… to ensure we saw the result that we did with the ending of apartheid here in South Africa.
'It's outrageous to conflate criticisms of Zionism with being anti-Jewish'
“I also think that political musicians, particularly people like [British-Iraqi rapper behind the song ‘Long Live Palestine’] Lowkey and people who’ve been directly involved in the question of solidarity for Palestinians, they understand that it is completely outrageous to conflate criticisms of the political project called Zionism, to conflate that with being in any way anti-Jewish,” added Randall.
He added that he didn’t think the coverage of Corbyn would dampen support from him from musicians.
“I think the more left-wing musicians won’t be persuaded at all, and I hope no one else will be.”