Jeremy Corbyn has finally gone on the offensive after suffering weeks of false accusations of antisemitism leveled at him over his support for Palestinian rights.
On Monday night Corbyn slammed Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who had attacked him for appearing at the grave of a Palestinian fighter.
Netanyahu said Corbyn deserved “unequivocal condemnation from everyone”.
But Corbyn said, “What deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children.”
It came after Corbyn was attacked for appearing at a memorial ceremony in Tunisia to commemorate those killed in an Israeli airstrike there in 1985.
Some 47 people were killed by the Israeli attack on the Tunisian base of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
Photographs also ’emerged’ to show him holding a wreath near the graves of Palestinians alleged to be involved with Black September.
Black September was named after a massacre of thousands of Palestinians by Jordan in 1970.
It held Israeli athletes hostage during the 1972 Munich Olympics to seek the release of hundreds of Palestinians from Israeli jails.
The hostages died during a gun battle when West German police opened fire.
Corbyn’s critics seized on his appearance at the memorial to accuse him of supporting “terrorism”. Yet these same critics aren’t always so keen to condemn attacks on innocent civilians or castigate those responsible.
Israeli airstrikes on the Palestinian Gaza Strip killed a pregnant woman and her one year old daughter last week.
And two Palestinians were killed—and 900 injured—during a protest last Friday.
Speaking after the latest bombardment, Netanyahu said Israel’s airstrikes were meant to “exact an additional heavy price” for Palestinian resistance.
Yet Netanyahu is still warmly welcomed to Downing Street whenever he visits Britain—as he was in June this year.
Another war criminal, Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, whose bombs have massacred tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians is also a welcome guest and highly valued customer for our arms industry.
Many of those who attack Corbyn for sympathising with Palestinian resistance—including Labour MPs—have justified Israeli massacres and defended Britain’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
The attacks on Corbyn are part of a sinister attempt to stifle criticism of the State of Israel. Some are trying to equate that with anti-semitism. Jonathan Arkush, outgoing director of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, criticised Corbyn’s support for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Stop the War Coalition.
Arkush told the Telegraph: “Delegitimising the state of Israel is antisemitic.
“He was a chairman of Stop the War, which is responsible for some of the worst anti-Israel discourse.
“He has never disavowed that sentiment. Is this double speak? What are we supposed to think? If he shares the prevalent discourse about Israel, then that view is unquestionably antisemitic.”
Comments from Arkush follow a pattern. The Jewish Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council have issued statements which accused the left of an “obsessive hatred of Zionism, Zionists and Israel”.
They added, “When Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, Jews expressed sincere and profound fears as to how such politics would impact on their wellbeing.”
Arkush and others have also tried to force Labour to adopt a definition of antisemitism that says describing “the existence of the state of Israel as a racist endeavour” is antisemitic.
That definition has already been used by some universities to cancel “Israeli Apartheid Week” events organised by students on campuses.
It would also classify supporting a one state solution in Palestine, with equal democratic rights for Jews and Arabs, as antisemitic.
If Zionism were simply the idea that Jewish people have the right to self-determination or their own state then, as Nationalists, we in Third Way would support them. The problem we have with Zionism is when it is expressed as a belief that Israel should be an exclusively Jewish state—and that Palestinians should be excluded from any form of independent political control. This treatment of the Palestinian people is an affront to humanity.
This hypocrisy needs to be called out by Jeremy Corbyn. Appeasement doesn’t work. The Zionist lobby will continue to stir-up opposition to Corbyn and funnel money to his critics despite all the explanations and apologies in the world. Corbyn has now come out fighting and that’s how he needs to go on. If he stands up to this Lobby he will win the respect of all right-thinking people.
By Patrick Harrington