The British Labour Party leader has rejected calls to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah while vowing to continue talking to the two groups.
Jeremy Corbyn refused to denounce the groups in the wake of calls from Jewish leaders, the Israeli Ambassador and members of his own party to distance himself from those with anti-Semitic views.
A statement from Corbyn’s spokesperson said he would continue to engage such groups, denying that doing so was tantamount to an endorsement.
Press TV reports:
On Monday, Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that Britain should condemn “anti-Semitism for the sake of its own core values.”
Israeli Ambassador Regev called on Corbyn to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah and pay a visit to Tel Aviv to build bridges.
Regev referred to Corbyn’s earlier support for the Islamic resistance movements, which were labeled as terrorist organizations by Britain.
A number of British Jews also urged Corbyn to display clarity about having relations with the two groups.
In response to the ongoing calls to reject Hamas and Hezbollah, Corbyn’s spokesman issued a statement on Sunday, saying, “Jeremy Corbyn has been a longstanding supporter of Palestinian rights and the pursuit of peace and justice in the Middle East through dialogue and negotiation.”
“He has met many people with whom he profoundly disagrees in order to promote peace and reconciliation processes, including in South Africa, Latin American, Ireland and the Middle East,” the statement added, noting that it is essential to talk to people “with whom he profoundly disagrees in order to promote peace and reconciliation processes, including in South Africa, Latin American, Ireland and the Middle East.”
“Simply talking to people who agree with you won’t help achieve justice or peace,” it added.
Corbyn has in the past called for the participation of Hamas and Hezbollah for a settlement of the conflict in the Middle East and highlighted the role of Iran in the regional issues. He has also referred to the two movements as “friends.”
According to the Times Of Israel: The Times newspaper reported late Sunday that some top Labour politicians were discussing whether to resign in the coming weeks in protest over Corbyn’s handling of the anti-Semitism crisis.
But Labour legislator Diane Abbott, a close ally of Corbyn, said Sunday the party is being unfairly attacked by its political enemies.
“It is a smear to say that the Labour Party has a problem with anti-Semitism. It is not fair on ordinary Labour Party members,” Abbott told the BBC’s Marr. “Two hundred thousand people have joined the Labour Party. Are you saying that because there have been 12 reported incidents of hate speech online, that the Labour Party is somehow intrinsically anti-Semitic?”