Far-leftist Jeremy Corbyn is facing fresh allegations of anti-Semitism after a video emerged showing the then Labour Party backbencher telling an audience that Israel’s “occupation” of a Palestinian territory “would be recognised by many people in Europe who suffered occupation during the Second World War”.
The video was shared by anonymous Twitter account The Golem which claimed it is footage from a 2013 event hosted by the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC).
Corbyn told the audience that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is not “equal” because Israel is wealthy whereas the Palestinian territories “are generally very poor”.
“In the case of Gaza, the people virtually imprisoned within that very small area and are facing environmental disasters and catastrophe.
“And in the West Bank [the people are] under occupation of the very sort that would be recognised by many people in Europe who suffered occupation during the Second World War with the endless roadblocks, imprisonment, and irrational behaviour by the military and the police,” the pro-Palestinian campaigner said.
EXCLUSIVE – In 2013 @JeremyCorbyn spoke at an event hosted by the Palestinian Return Centre in which he made a direct comparison between Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Nazi occupation of Europe during WW2. Watch until the end… pic.twitter.com/POMfsX5APq
— The Golem (@TheGolem_) August 10, 2018
A Labour spokesman responded to the release of the recording, saying that “Jeremy was describing conditions of occupations in World War Two in Europe, of which there are multiple examples, not comparing the Israeli state to Nazis.”
However, Jewish and Israeli groups within Labour have criticised their party leader for the comments, including Labour Friends of Israel, which supports a two-state solution, which called the comments “appalling”.
“Earlier this week, we discovered that Jeremy Corbyn engaged in wild conspiracy theories questioning Israel’s right to exist.
“Today, it is revealed he drew comparisons between conditions in the West Bank and the Nazi occupation of Europe,” said Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel.
“It is increasingly clear that his opposition to adopting the IHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] definition in full appears to be overwhelmingly driven by his own appalling past statements.
“The Labour Party’s once proud record on fighting racism and the protection of British Jews from anti-Semitism is being sacrificed to protect Jeremy Corbyn’s reputation,” Ms Gerber added.
Jeremy Corbyn Praised Hamas Terrorists as ‘Brothers’ on Iran State TV https://t.co/U87EJ9LMY8
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 2, 2018
Euan Philipps, a spokesman for Labour Against Antisemitism, added: “This film of Jeremy Corbyn appears to show his apparent drawing of comparison between the actions of the Israeli government and Nazism.
“For Jews, whose families suffered immeasurable loss during and after the Second World War, making this kind of equivalence is understandably extremely distressing and hurtful. Under the terms of the IHRA definition, it may be considered antisemitic.
“Is this film, and evidence like it, why Mr Corbyn is opposed to adopting the IHRA definition: because the elements of the definition that his party appear to have altered are the very ones that could lead to his suspension from the party if they were readopted?”
Labour has been embroiled in several anti-Semitism scandals since the socialist MP was elected party leader in September 2015, but a recent crisis has divided the party’s MPs from its governing body the National Executive Committee, which is stacked with Corbyn loyalists, where the NEC voted to adopt a watered-down definition of anti-Semitism which MPs rejected as not going far enough.
The definition takes much from the IRHA’s definition of anti-Semitism but omits four key examples related to Jewish identity and Israel — leaving wide open the ability to express hatred of Jews in the guise of criticism of the Jewish state.
Just last week, Corbyn’s camp defended comments he made during a speech at a rally outside of Israel’s London embassy in 2010 in which he compared Israel’s blockade of the Gaza strip to the Nazi sieges of Leningrad and Stalingrad during World War II.