Oli SCARFF (AFP)
Jeremy Corbyn, the embattled leader of the British labour party, said on Wednesday that his party will recognize a Palestinian state should they win upcoming elections.
Speaking at the annual Labour conference, Corbyn said the party is “united in condemning the shooting of hundreds of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza by Israeli forces and the passing of Israel’s discriminatory Nation-State Law.”
“The continuing occupation, the expansion of illegal settlements and the imprisonment of Palestinian children are an outrage,” he said, adding that the Labour party supports a two-state solution to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
“But a quarter of a century on from the Oslo Accords we are no closer to justice or peace and the Palestinian tragedy continues, while the outside world stands by.”
“And in order to help make the two-state settlement a reality we will recognize a Palestinian state as soon as we take office,” Corbyn said.
Since Corbyn assumed leadership of the party in 2015, a series of controversies relating to his seemingly one-sided pro-Palestinian rhetoric and repeated failure to stamp out burgeoning anti-Semitism within his party has led to a tumultuous relationship with British Jewry.
Corbyn himself came under particular scrutiny last months over a string of incidents that have led to accusations of his support for Palestinian terror groups.
First, pictures emerged showing Corbyn visiting a cemetery in Tunisia where the members of the Palestinian terrorist group who perpetrated the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre targeting Israeli athletes are buried.
Later, i24NEWS revealed that Corbyn met Hamas officials during a visit to Israel and the West Bank in November 2010 that he failed to declare to authorities, in breach of parliamentary rules.
Britain’s former chief rabbi Lord Sacks called Corbyn a “dangerous anti-Semite”, an accusation the Labour party dismissed as “absurd and offensive.”
The latest controversy to envelop Corbyn erupted after it was reported that he said at a Palestinian Return Center event in 2013 that “Zionists” in Britain “clearly have two problems: they don’t appreciate history or understand English irony”. His comments implied that “Zionists” — which some of interpreted as him using a synonym for “Jews” — don’t understand British ways of thinking even though they grew up in the country.
Amid the tirade, Corbyn published an apology letter in the Guardian last month expressing regret over “the hurt that had been caused to many Jewish people” acknowledging that he had “been too slow in processing disciplinary cases” of antisemitic abuse by party members. “Not in my name” warned to those using “antisemitic poison.”
However, the party’s failure to adopt the full definition on anti-Semitism as set forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has been a continued cause for concern, leading British Jewry to reject his apology as a “lecture.”