Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Jeremy Corbyn Says He Respects Jewish Affection For Israel

(JTA) — Jeremy Corbyn said he respects the affinity many Jewish feel for Israel and appealed to critics to resolve differences over his Labour Party’s policy on anti-Semitism that has drawn fire.

Critics of the policy say it downplays hostility to Jews expressed as criticism of Israel.

“I fully understand and respect the strong affection and affinity most Jews in Britain feel for Israel, whatever their view of the current Israeli government,” Corbyn said Friday in an op-ed posted by The Guardian newspaper.

“Hostility to the Israeli state or its policies can be expressed in racist terms and that needs to be called out,” he said. “But there are also many non- or anti-Zionist Jews who should not be branded as anti-Semites simply because they are not part of the Zionist tradition.”

Similarly, Corbyn rejected the notion that Zionism is racism but added that he did not believe that anti-Zionism is racism.

Corbyn has been battered by criticism in recent years over what critics have said is the opposition party’s failure to address anti-Semitic expression in its ranks.

The crisis was exacerbated recently by the party’s decision to embrace a definition of anti-Semitism that downplays expressions of anti-Semitism disguised as Israel criticism, for instance likening Israel to Nazis.

Making matters more fraught, the party has launched disciplinary action against two of its members of Parliament who harshly criticized Corbyn in the wake of the decision.

Corbyn in his op-ed referred to a new round of consultations he has launched to reconsider Labour’s anti-Semitism definition.

He also described as “overheated” a front-page editorial published jointly last week by the three main Jewish newspapers in Britain that warned of an “existential” threat to British Jewry should Corbyn, whose popularity is rising, win election as prime minister.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.