(CNN)Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK's opposition Labour Party, has an anti-Semitism problem -- and so now does the rest of the United Kingdom.
There were the questionable associations with Holocaust deniers and anti-Zionists; self-proclaimed "friendships" with representatives from Hamas and Hezbollah; his stress on inclusive dialogue over the Israel/Palestinian conflict while only ever speaking to one side.In the intervening 2½ years, the question of whether Corbyn and the Labour Party he leads contains strands of anti-Semitism has bubbled below the surface of British politics, occasionally bursting to the surface in wildly malevolent eruptions.We are currently in the midst of one such eruption. The latest trigger: the unearthing of Corbyn's disapproval, expressed on social media in 2012, of the painting-over of a mural depicting a crude caricature of Jews and his tone-deaf response to the resulting outcry.This is only the latest in a series of incidents which, at the very least, have left Corbyn open to charges of tolerating anti-Semitism and anti-Semites. When I was researching my biography of Corbyn, a then-member of his leadership campaign confided that aides hadrepeatedly pleaded with him to address the concerns of Jewish community leaders who were already expressing alarm at the prospect of Corbyn taking charge of a major British political party. The candidate was, I was told, utterly uninterested, seeing, as he often does, any implied criticism as hostility and therefore an unwarranted smear.This was I think the last interview I conducted before returning home to New York, where I still live. Watching Labour's Jewish crisis unfold from the city with the largest Jewish population in the world after Tel Aviv provides an interesting perspective.To say that to play fast and loose with anti-Semitism would be a disqualifier for political office in the United States is an understatement.Even Donald Trump, who makes no bones offending entire racial communities, has in the face of accusations of anti-Semitism resisted doubling down in the manner he does on so many other issues. To do so would be political suicide. Until recently, the same was true of the UK, too. And, in my opinion, it is a direct result of Corbyn's leadership that it is not.