No, Comedian Rob Delaney is NOT an Antisemite!

The JC reports about Jeremy Corbyn appearing due to appear in conversation with actor Rob Delaney, who has allegedly made antisemitic jokes:

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is due to appear in conversation with an actor who joked about Jewish toddlers having their “cute little horns filed off”.

The event is set to be held next month to protest against this year’s Conservative party conference.

Catastrophe actor Rob Delaney, 44, wrote in 2009, “When I think of adorable Jewish baby boys getting circumcised AND having their cute little horns filed off, I get so sad!” 

The tweet from 12 years ago resurfaced on social media ahead of the October 4 event organised by the People’s Assembly. 

Online users were quick to highlight other potentially inflammatory tweets by Mr Delaney, including one from 2011 that read: “Somebody probably has the phone number 1-800-JEW-FART.”

In another tweet from 2012, he also quipped about wishing to atone on Yom Kippur “for the weeks I’ve wasted on chubby naked Jewish girls on bikes dot com” and in 2012 described a single by rock band Van Halen as being “worse than 3 Holocausts.”

The tweets sparked an outpouring of criticism, with the Jewish Labour Movement’s national secretary, Adam Langleben, describing the posts as containing “crap and crude jokes about Jews”. 

Mr Langleben also expressed concern about Mr Corbyn’s participation in an event featuring Mr Delaney. 

“What’s funny is that Jeremy despite years of denials and problems still manages to share platforms with people who have said ridiculous and arguably racist things about Jews. Still. After all this. After everything,” he wrote.

Some, however, came to Mr Delaney’s defence, suggesting the tweets were satirical, with one online user writing that the comedian “may be a Judeophile, rather than an antisemite”.

Mr Corbyn, who stepped down as leader in 2020, is currently not sitting as a Labour MP following his suspension last year over his reaction to a report into antisemitism in the party. 

His tenure as leader was overshadowed by criticism of Labour’s handling of antisemitism allegations. 

His successor Keir Starmer has vowed to root out antisemitism from the party and sought to mend ties with Jewish groups. 

Mr Delaney has previously written about his relationship to the community, revealing in 2011 that he was Catholic but attended nursery school at a Jewish community centre as a child. 

The comedian, who at the time was living in Los Angeles, said the Californian city had “even more Jewish people than Marblehead”, his hometown in Massachusetts. 

“In fact, I wouldn’t even think of living somewhere that wasn’t swarming with Jews,” he wrote in the first-person piece published by Vice. 

Mr Delaney’s management and the People’s Assembly were approached for comment.

While my position on Jeremy Corbyn’s views on Jews are no secret, I think those attacking Rob are being really unfair by taking his words out of context.

For instance, Mathilde Frot, the journalist behind the JC piece, mentions Rob’s Vice piece in which he wrote of growing up with Jews, but cherry picks to paint his comments as almost mocking:

Mr Delaney has previously written about his relationship to the community, revealing in 2011 that he was Catholic but attended nursery school at a Jewish community centre as a child. 

The comedian, who at the time was living in Los Angeles, said the Californian city had “even more Jewish people than Marblehead”, his hometown in Massachusetts. 

“In fact, I wouldn’t even think of living somewhere that wasn’t swarming with Jews,” he wrote in the first-person piece published by Vice. 

But if you read the entire piece, you will see his real affection for the Jewish people.

I grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts. It’s about 40 minutes outside of Boston, on the ocean, and there are a lot of Jewish people doing all kinds of Jewish things all over the place. I’m Catholic, but I went to the Jewish community center for nursery school, so I witnessed much Jewish activity from an early age. I blew the shofar, ate challah regularly, spun dreidels, and even had my penis customized in keeping with Abraham’s covenant with G-d. (I omitted the “o” in that last word out of respect for my Jewish readers, even though, as a Catholic, I can write that word all day long if I want. But I don’t, because I’m not a serial killer. Plus I have a family and a job.)

Plus you’ll get a real sense of his sense of humor.

Furthermore, Frot does not mention some of his other tweets, in which he is not being irreverent, which also show just how much he appreciates the Jewish people and religion:

I do not believe Rob’s “Jewish jokes” were malicious or antisemitic. When taken in context with everything else, it seems he was actually making fun of some Jewish stereotypes. At worst, they were irresponsible, clumsy or even “crappy.”

Regular readers know I have no problem with mocking and exposing those who I believe to be actual, unrepentant Jew-haters. But I am against cancel culture in the sense of going after people who once or twice said some disagreeable things. This is not the same thing as going after those who have a track record in Jew hatred and continue to disseminate it.

There are many words and actions one can point to in order to suggest Jeremy Corbyn does not like Jews. Speaking with Rob Delaney is not one of them – he is no Jew-hater; if anything, he is a philosemite. We need to be careful and not condemn an innocent man by taking his words out of context.

Update: Reader Michael has pointed out to me that Rob Delaney is anti-Israel:

I still stand behind my original thoughts that on the basis of his jokes and other writings, it seemed like cherry-picking information in order to paint him as a real Jew-hater.

I do not believe these anti-Israel tweets prove his is an antisemite, but they do show him to at least be an ignoramus when it comes to the Middle East conflict.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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