“I think there has to be a recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to their own state, which we as a Labour Party said we would recognize in government as a full state as part of the United Nations.” – Jeremy Corbyn
by Whitney Webb
The leader of the U.K. Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, officially announced on Friday that the U.K. would recognize Palestine as a state under a future Labour government. Corbyn, speaking in Jordan during his first trip to the region since becoming party leader in 2015, stated that the recognition of a Palestinian state would be aimed at achieving “a genuine two-state solution” that he would seek to tackle “very early on” were Labour to emerge victorious in the U.K.’s next general election in 2022.
“I think there has to be a recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to their own state, which we as a Labour Party said we would recognize in government as a full state as part of the United Nations,” Corbyn stated.
A day later, on Saturday, Corbyn visited Jordan’s Al-Baqa’a refugee camp, which has long hosted Palestinians who fled the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
After visiting the camp, Corbyn asserted the need to consider the rights of Palestinians in any future peace process, stating that “there has to be a right of the Palestinian people to live in peace, as well as the right of Israel.”
Corbyn has long been an advocate for Palestine, having been a long-time patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and having endorsed key elements of the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement.
More recently, Corbyn has condemned Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – calling the move a “catastrophic mistake” — while also calling out Western silence over Israel’s killing of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza during the Great Return March earlier this year. Corbyn’s criticism of recent Israeli violence targeting Palestinians has included calls for the U.K. to halt arms sales to Israel if those arms “could be used in violation of international law.”
As a result of his continued advocacy for Palestinians, Corbyn has consistently been attacked by the U.K.’s Israel lobby as an “anti-Semite.” Such concerns over “anti-Semitism” have grown into a frenzy in the U.K. media in recent years, particularly after Labour’s surprise performance in U.K. elections last year that led them to pick up several seats in Parliament. The “witch hunt” to smear Corbyn as an “anti-Semite” has led several Jewish groups to call out “the weaponization of anti-Semitism for political ends.”
Given his statements over the weekend on recognizing Palestine as a state, accusations of Corbyn’s “anti-Semitism” are unlikely to die out anytime soon.