Over a dozen Arab members of Israel’s parliament (Knesset) have announced their support for UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn amid an anti-Semitism row affecting the British politician and his party.
The 13 Arab Knesset lawmakers wrote a letter to the British newspaper the Guardian, in which they praised Corbyn for his fight against all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.
“We stand in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and we recognize him as a principled leftist leader who aspires for peace and justice and is opposed to all forms of racism, whether directed at Jews, Palestinians, or any other group,” read the letter from the Joint List coalition, which is Knesset’s third largest faction.
The Israeli lawmakers also hailed Corbyn for “his long-standing solidarity with all oppressed peoples around the world, including his unflinching support for the Palestinian people”.
The letter comes amid a continued row within the Labour Party over a new code of conduct on anti-Semitism which rejects certain pro-Israeli statements existing in a multi-national pact.
Corbyn and several senior Labour leaders have been targeted for their refusal to adopt a broader definition of anti-Semitism. However, they insist adopting a full definition would restrict the rights of those Jews who are critical of Israel and its actions.
The Israeli lawmakers reiterated in their letter that they endorse Corbyn’s view that being anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist would not necessarily mean an affront to the Jews. They said that the definition of anti-Semitism “goes far beyond anti-Jewish animus to include anti-Zionism”.
The lawmakers' declaration of support for Corbyn comes despite repeated attempts by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to draw international condemnation against Labour leader’s policies.
The Joint List condemned in its letter Netanyahu’s racist policies towards the Arabs living in the occupied Palestinian territories, saying such policies had in fact helped weaken sympathy for “the Palestinian historical plight” among members of the British political class.
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