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Jeremy Corbyn backs recognition of independent Palestine as Labour calls for halt of UK arms export to Israel

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A Labour government in the UK would recognize an independent Palestinian state as soon as it took office, Jeremy Corbyn said on Wednesday, during the annual Labour conference in Liverpool.

During his keynote speech, the Labour leader criticized Israel’s passing of the Nation-State law earlier this summer and the killing of over 170 of Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border since March.

He denounced “the ongoing denial of justice and rights to the Palestinian people,” and continued on to say “the continuing occupation, the expansion of illegal settlements and the imprisonment of Palestinian children are an outrage.”

Despite growing criticisms of the two-state solution, which local and international activists say is effectively dead, Corbyn said the Labour party backs the two-state solution, saying “in order to help make that two-state settlement a reality we will recognize a Palestinian state as soon as we take office.”

The day before Corbyn’s speech, delegates at the conference waved hundreds of Palestinian flags during a rare debate on Palestine as they passed a motion to support the immediate suspension of UK arms sales to Israel pending an investigation of Israel’s killing of protesters in Gaza.

The motion also condemned the Trump administration’s decision to cut all funding for UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for providing essential aid to some 5 million registered Palestinian refugees.

Amid the visible widespread support for Palestine at the conference, Corbyn and other officials addressed the ongoing criticisms of alleged anti-Semitism within the party.

“Ours is the party of equality for all — the party that has pioneered every progressive initiative to root out racism from our society,” Corbyn said, adding “being anti-racist means we must listen to those communities suffering discrimination and abuse.”

“The Jewish people have suffered a long and terrible history of persecution and genocide,” he said, as he described a visit he took two years ago to a former Nazi concentration camp.

“The row over anti-Semitism has caused immense hurt and anxiety in the Jewish community and great dismay in the Labour Party,” Corbyn added, “But I hope we can work together to draw a line under it.”

Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry — who has repeatedly criticized Israel’s planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar– criticized in her speech what she said were anti-Semites in the party using the issue of Palestine to “promote hatred,” and called for them to be thrown out of the party.

“We all support the Palestinian cause, we are all committed to recognise the Palestinian state, and I stand here with no hesitation when I condemn the Netanyahu government for its racist policies and its criminal actions against the Palestinian people,” she said.

“But I know as well, and we must all acknowledge, that there are sickening individuals on the fringes of our movement, who use our legitimate support for Palestine as a cloak and a cover for their despicable hatred of Jewish people, and their desire to see Israel destroyed,” she continued.

Jeremy Corbyn and his personal and party’s support for the Palestinian cause has made him the target of the international pro-Israel lobby, who have accused him of participating in and tolerating what has been dubbed the “new anti-Semitism”: criticism of the Israeli state for its human rights abuses and war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory.

On Wednesday, reports surfaced of a bomb-threat being made to a pro-Palestine event in Liverpool as the Labour conference was being brought to a close.

Israel Lobby and Corbyn

In a six-month undercover investigation, Al Jazeera reporters revealed the extent to which Israeli officials — specifically from the Israeli Embassy in the UK — influence British politics, through working with political youth organizations and MPs.

(Image: Carlos Latuff)

Parts of the investigation exposed a senior officer at the embassy, Shai Masot, expressing his desire to “take down” British politicians who were sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. On several occasions, Masot referenced Jeremy Corbyn as one of the threats to the Israeli political agenda.

Last month, Israeli lawyer Eitay Mack filed a freedom of information request to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, in order “to verify that these play no part in the de-legitimization waged in recent years on the UK Labour Party and Mr. Corbyn.”

In an interview with Mondoweiss, Mack criticized Israel’s “hypocrisy” in it’s focus on allegations of anti-Semitism within the Labour party, while at the same time, exporting arms with regimes across the world that commit crimes against humanity and war crimes.

“Israel is strengthening its relationship in eastern Europe, with countries like Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, where they have huge problems with anti-Semitism. On the other hand, you see the Israeli government making their political struggle with Jeremy Corbyn a main issue,” Mack said.

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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35 Responses

  1. amigo on September 27, 2018, 2:52 pm

    I googled this and the Guardian did not show up on the first three pages.

    Maybe the Guardian agrees , the 2SS is dead , so this is not worth reporting.

    • genesto on September 28, 2018, 1:25 pm

      I’m sure Corbyn, as astute as I think he appears to be on the subject, also knows that the 2SS is dead, but has decided to not take on this battle as well for the time being. Right now, he seems determined to smoke out the McCarthyite Zionists bent on destroying him, and anyone that dares to stand in the way of the international Zionist agenda, by conflating criticism of Israel with Antisemitism.

  2. HarryLaw on September 27, 2018, 3:33 pm

    Margaret Hodge MP is glad she decided not to go to the Labour party conference , here is why….
    “The pictures of Jewish MP Luciana Berger walking through the conference area surrounded by police protection officers delivers a chilling image, demonstrating how antisemitism has pervaded the modern Labour Party. We should reflect on what those pictures tell us about the intimidation and racism that exists today in our party”.
    What a load of garbage.

    • Bumblebye on September 27, 2018, 5:09 pm

      Luciana Berger *only* had protection *outside* the conference, on leaving and escorting her to her transport:

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 28, 2018, 6:18 am

      What rot. Not only was the story of Berger needing police protection debunked (not that you’d know it from reading the British media) but surely if Hodge thinks anti-semitism – a subject she never mentioned until a few months ago, despite being in politics and being acquaitned with Corbyn for 40 years – is such a massive problem, a better protest would be to leave the Labour party? I certainly would not remain in an organisation which I felt was bigoted against a group I belonged to.

      More likely that Hodge thought it better not to attend the conference because, like the ‘Friends of Israel’ group of which she is a member, she knew she’d be subjected to uncomfortable questions about her role in trying to sabotage her own party.

      On another note, it is incredible to observe how Margaret Hodge, an individual who, if she was known at all, was known for her complicity in covering up child abuse, dodging her taxes and being a part of the failed ‘chicken coup’ against Corbyn 2 years ago, is now getting uncritical coverage in the media and opportunities to pen editorials denouncing her own party. Then again, if Atila the Hun came back to life and started criticising Corbyn, he’d probably be hailed as a hero too.

      • SteveH on September 30, 2018, 10:53 am

        It is worth noting that in late July this year Hodge argued that if anyone had issues, they could add extra comments to the IHRA definition

        Margarete Hodge 28th July 2018
        ” If they don’t think there is enough in the definition that allows people to criticise the Israeli government they can add some clauses”

        and now just a few weeks later she is apoplectic about adding any caveats whatsoever

        Hodge also kindly repeated this on BBC R4 Woman’s Hour a few days later

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on October 1, 2018, 10:46 am


        Well spotted – I had not seen that!

        It truly is amazing – or, given the huge media antipathy to Corbyn, maybe not so amazing – that this until a few months ago fairly obscure individual is being held up as somewhere between an ’eminence grise’ or some delicate little lady who is still traumatised by having family members killed in the holocaust, even though she has barely spoken about this in public for decades, just as she never accused Corbyn of anti-semitism – even as one of the ‘chicken coup’ plotters – until it became politically useful for her to do so.

  3. Blaine Coleman on September 27, 2018, 6:23 pm

    Finally BDS is mainstream in UK public opinion.

    And at the University of Michigan, support is growing today for the boycott of Israel:

  4. Kay24 on September 27, 2018, 10:04 pm

    Jeremy Corbyn and his party have taken a courageous stand. They have put the rights of the Palestinians over politics and party. They are doing the humane thing by giving the Palestinians recognition, despite being the target of angry apologists, and organized zionist supporters, whose mission is to discredit any leader who “dares” to criticize Israel and it’s endless crimes, including the occupation, and the killing of civilians, which no one in either the US or the UK seem to have the spine to do. Perhaps because they have put shekels, and zionist support for their political ambitions, over human rights and fighting for the powerless.
    Good luck to the Labour Party.

    • SteveH on October 5, 2018, 12:11 pm

      He’s certainly a vast improvement on Theresa May – A shiver looking for s backbone.

      • Kay24 on October 5, 2018, 1:56 pm

        The Israeli lobby or some vicious apologists, have had an ugly campaign demonizing Jeremy Corbyn, in an effort to intimidate him, and get him to toe the zionist line. I hope he never caves in. I really don’t understand why British leaders cannot find that backbone and stand up against that poison, which has spread in the US. It seems they want to become the United Kingdom of Israel, just like the United States of Israel.

    • inbound39 on October 7, 2018, 5:52 pm

      Jeremy Corbyn is the only English political leader with a conscience and the guts to right the wrongs against Palestinians and support their fight to have their own State. Some might say Theresa May would be safest employed in a kitchen washing up dishes but even in that job that takes little thought she would break all the cups and saucers. She is incredibly thick and shows no signs of life.

      • RoHa on October 7, 2018, 6:35 pm

        “incredibly thick and shows no signs of life.”

        Neither of these features has ever disqualified anyone from being Prime Minister.

      • inbound39 on October 8, 2018, 6:37 pm

        Roha…I agree and you have me in stitches now and I choked on my coffee….thanks!

  5. Peter in SF on September 28, 2018, 2:51 am

    The October issue of Harper’s has a ridiculous article by Tanya Gold, “Among Britain’s Anti-Semites: The Labour Party’s Moral Dilemma”:

    Here’s one lowlight:

    Corbyn is also a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a former chair of Stop the War, at whose rallies they chant, “From the river to the sea / Palestine will be free.” (There is no rhyme for what will happen to the Jewish population in this paradise.) He was an early supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its global campaign to delegitimize Israel and, through the right of return for Palestinians, end its existence as a Jewish state.

    She meets members of Jewish Voice for Labour and reports:

    Of an endgame in Israel/Palestine I was told only of a vague desire for a “rainbow nation,” as if demonic can be a color in a rainbow.

    And then there’s this:

    I am fascinated by Jackie Walker, the daughter of a Jamaican mother of Jewish descent and a Jewish-American father, and a committed anti-Zionist. … we had long, agonized conversations about anti-Semitism and Israel. She told me, as she did the first time I met her, in 2016, that Israel is a racist state. I am keen to understand Walker. Perhaps it is because that even among a tribe of outsiders, her status is peculiarly isolated, and she is terribly abused by some Zionist Jews. Perhaps I cannot let her go, let her stop being Jewish, stop being my cousin; let her carry the burden, too! To me she is warm and emotional, and I came to like her very much, even if I felt that she couldn’t hear me: sometimes I wondered whether she is just another narcissistic and intractable Jewish female, like so many I have loved.

    How is that for lack of self-awareness?

    Have you noticed that people who spout anti-Palestinian propaganda never say that some of their best friends are Palestinian? The only evidence that Tanya Gold gives to show that she’s ever listened to anything any Palestinian has ever said is this:

    Conspiracy theories are fashionable in these ponds. A Palestinian newspaper has reported that Zionists employed a dolphin to spy on Hamas.

    • Peter in SF on September 28, 2018, 3:26 am

      This article says “More than 250 people attended a fringe meeting hosted by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign” that took place as part of the Labour Party conference:

      And it says Ghada Karmi was one of the speakers. If Tanya Gold could only overcome her disgust with having human contact with a Palestinian person, she should have asked to pose with Dr. Karmi as Ellen Siegel did in the famous 1973 photo (substituting “U.S.A.” with “U.K.”):

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 28, 2018, 6:36 pm

        “having human contact with a Palestinian person,”

        That’s practically a criminal offence in the UK these days.

    • Donald on September 28, 2018, 8:22 am

      Thanks for the link. That article was one of the worst, one sided pieces I have ever read. She is so incredibly condescending. The depressing thing is that Harpers has a leftist reputation and they printed this. They could have found someone who would try to be balanced and they chose this person instead.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 28, 2018, 6:35 pm

      The author is ” just another narcissistic and intractable Jewish female”, the ‘article’ is a disgrace, and the title – surely – is libellous.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 29, 2018, 8:41 am

      Also, note the inevitable reminder that Jews are the Most Persecuted People Ever:

      “What did I hear in that small sentence? Perhaps I am oversensitive. My mother is a historian of the Holocaust. She has traveled around Europe since the Eighties, teaching people how to teach the Holocaust in the countries where it took place. I can tell you, without recourse to any reference book, that there isn’t a favorable mention of Jews in European literature until Gotthold Lessing’s The Jews, in 1749. I can tell you that when Edward I expelled the Jews from En­gland in 1290, a ship captain, having taken their money for passage, dumped some on a sandbank, and left them to die.”

      Right. Because pre-modern authors were in the habit of making ‘favourable mentions’ of various minority groups, as was the norm in the pre-PC era. And only Jews were mistreated by medieval kings.

      Author sounds like a morally dishonest narcissist with a victim complex.

  6. Marnie on September 28, 2018, 4:40 am

    So refreshing to see a politician with an actual spine. Full speed ahead Jeremy Corbyn – please do what the united states won’t do, not because they can’t, they just won’t, and work very hard with your supporters in europe to isolate and punish ‘israel’ and protect palestine. They have suffered long and hard for the crimes of europe against european jews.

  7. MHughes976 on September 28, 2018, 4:53 am

    The Indeoendent reported that Corbyn’s statement on recognising Palestine got the biggest and best ovation. One reaction was to worry about ‘the Jewish vote’, slightly racist as that term is. However, I think it’s possible that there is now a more numerous ‘Palestine vote’, with a significant Jewish component of course, formed of those who think that the situation in Palestine is so unjust and dangerous to the world that they – even some non-socialists like me – are strongly drawn to vote for the likes of Corbyn. Still a small group, still almost non-existent in mainstream journalism, but still there.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 28, 2018, 11:45 am

      As Ossinev mentioned below, Jews make up about 0.04% of the British population, and there is also the fact that most British Jews are Tories, as are almost all of the mainstream Jewish organisaitons and publications. Even when Labour was led by a Jew, Ed Miliband, most Jews did not vote for Labour. So there really is no electoral reason Labour should court the ‘Jewish vote’.

      Realistically, the Middle East is a non-issue for the vast majority of British voters. Israel may be an issue for some Jewish voters, but as mentioned above, they are tiny in number and most vote Conservative anyway. On the other hand, those few voters who are motivated by the Palestinian issue have little choice other than to vote for Labour, as the Tories are (even more) pro-Israel. An estimated 80% of Tory Parliamentary Party members are signed up ‘Friends of Israel’.

      So from the electoral standpoint, sadly there is very little to be gained and potentially a lot to be lost by flying the Palestinian flag, literally or figuratively.

  8. Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 28, 2018, 6:30 am

    This time last week, I was on tenterhooks waiting for the latest ‘anti semitism row’ non-scandal to drop, just in time for the Sunday papers and the conference in Liverpool. Nada. So that would indicate that the anti-semitism barrell has been well and truly scraped – that’s all they’ve got. Not that it stopped them re-hashing the old nonsense, along with the fake news story of Luciana Berger and her ‘police protection’ but seems there is nothing new – and by ‘new’ I mean 5 year old Youtube clips of Corbyn once talking to a Palestinian person, or something equally scandalous.

    That said, the coverage of the conference has been disgraceful, with the odious Andrew Marr flat out asking Corbyn – on the tax-payer funded BBC – “Are you an anti-semite?” Jon Snow also brought up the fake story about Berger. This is particularly sad, as Snow used to be a target of the Israel lobby for his courageous reporting on the issue. It would seem that the new boss of Channel 4 News, Ian Katz – formerly of ‘Newsnight’ and The Guardian – has a lot to do with this.

    And while I know not everyone here agrees, this just confirms for me that Corbyn, much as I admire him, has handled this very very badly. He should never have allowed these slurs to go unchallenged and should never have pandered to those who want nothing less than this head on a plate.

  9. Ossinev on September 28, 2018, 9:57 am

    ” One reaction was to worry about ‘the Jewish vote’, slightly racist as that term is”

    Jews of whatever level of adherence or assimilation make up an estimated .04% of the UK population and a significant proportion of these are children ie non voters. The Jewish population is concentrated in a very few constituencies eg in North London. The highest figure I have seen qouted for an individual constituency is 10%. Bear in mind also that a significant proportion of the potential voters are anti – Zionist and pro – Corbyn and the potential effect of losing their vote in a constituency election borders on zero.

    The whole A/S Corbyn scam has been about Ziocentral in Israel , panicking at the thought of an openly pro-Palestinian government in the UK , organising its agents in the UK to initiate a revolting smear campaign against an honorable individual. In the process it has of course had the automatic backing of Tory MPs almost all of whom are “Friends of Israel” (I wonder why = £),the backing of what would appear to be a totally right wing controlled MSM(also = Z£) and along the way it has picked up volunteer recruits from amongst the hypocritical has been Blairite MPs in the Labour Party and of course the Israeli Firsters in the Party including Mesdames Hodge,Smeeth(sob),Ellman and “Beleaguered” Berger.

    As has been pointed out by MDM Ziocentral strategists appear to have scraped the bottom of the barrel in terms of the pathetic imaginary A/S comments and associations of Jeremy Corbyn and it is difficult to see where exactly they go from here. They have tried character assassination and it has failed so perhaps they might be considering the real thing. They do after all have form for that sort of thing. Far from tax payers money / police resources being wasted on photo opportunities for BB they perhaps should be used to strengthen JC`s protection. Then again unlike the odious Berger being an honorable individual he would probably refuse them and insist that any money saved/resources saved be used in the fight against terrorism and organised crime.

  10. Ossinev on September 28, 2018, 2:06 pm

    The A/S – IHRA farce becomes more hilarious by the day. Now the Board of Deputies of British Jews is even accusing their own recently elected Vice President of potential breaches of the definition since she spoke out against the Zioland Nation State Law:

    To be fair they didn`t call her self loathing,self denying etc. Perhaps that is yet to come.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 28, 2018, 6:02 pm

      Just had a look at your link. What an ABSOLUTE farce. Real twilight zone stuff. Though I will say it’s more than a little entertaining to watch the Board of Tories have handbags at dawn over their precious ‘definition’.

      • Sibiriak on September 28, 2018, 9:28 pm

        Farcical indeed:

        “Dr Gewolb must realise that in today’s world anything that might be construed as a foreign entity interfering in the democratic process of another sovereign nation is categorically off-limits.”

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 29, 2018, 8:41 am

        Real couldn’t make it up stuff. I guess Corbyn was right – again – when he said that certain Zionists just don’t get English irony.

    • oldgeezer on September 29, 2018, 8:36 am


      Goes to show why the ihra definition is unfit for purpose and, more importantly, how it will be misused by radical extremist Zionists.

      There needs to be a legal consequence for these racist and fascist thugs that support Israel.

    • HarryLaw on September 30, 2018, 3:48 pm

      Ossinev, I agree the IHRA definition plus examples is a farce, a farce which many QC’s and educated opinion said was a farce before it was adopted by the Labour party, nevertheless it did not stop Len McCluskey [Unite] from recommending the party adopt the full definition with all examples, in the hope it would buy some temporary peace, the fool…
      Mr McCluskey, calling for the IHRA definition to be adopted, said: “Clearly, it would have been far better for the party to have adopted at least ten of the eleven IHRA examples in their original wording.

      “Not doing so – and particularly without adequate consultation – was insensitive and bound to lead to misunderstanding, and also served to distract attention from the real issues at stake.

      “It would be for the best if all eleven were now agreed, so the party can move on.” [the Mirror UK]

  11. JWalters on September 28, 2018, 10:52 pm

    Corbyn strikes back! Looks like Corbyn had a plan. He’s directly challenging the Israelis to take him to court with their IHRA definition. That would blow up spectacularly in their faces. Congress should invite him to give an address.

  12. guyn on September 30, 2018, 10:08 am

    I like the combativity of Corbyn, but this

    “Despite growing criticisms of the two-state solution, which local and international activists say is effectively dead, Corbyn said the Labour party backs the two-state solution, saying “in order to help make that two-state settlement a reality we will recognize a Palestinian state as soon as we take office.”

    That leads nowhere IMO

  13. Ossinev on October 5, 2018, 5:22 pm

    Meanwhile one of the highlights of the Labour Party conference captured on NF`s blog:
    Note that after this impassioned speech Jeremy Corbyn appears to have shaken hands with the speaker yet another blatant example of his alleged ” Anti- Semitism” ( yawn)
    For those not aware the Battle of Cable Street was a seminal moment in Britain`s history when true Labour Party members and supporters stood up to and fought alongside British Jews against Edward Mosley`s Anti – Semitic Fascists and effectively destroyed them as a political force. So unlike the feral supporters of Fascist Zionism in the Labour Party today Hodge,Smeeth,Ellman, Berger,Austin et al who bring shame on their memory.
    As Norman says the sooner they pack their bags the better for the UK as a whole and for all those brave British Jews who are standing up to Zionist double speak and are speaking the truth about Fascist Israel.

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