The Times of Israel reports: British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn rebuffed calls Sunday to denounce contacts with terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, while declaring that his party is against anti-Semitism, amid a roiling scandal over accusations of widespread anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiments among Labourites.
Corbyn used a May Day rally to say the party “is absolutely against anti-Semitism in any form” after a tumultuous week that focused attention on the party’s attitude toward Jews instead of its campaigning efforts ahead of London’s mayoral race.
But as Labour attempted to push back against efforts to label it anti-Semitic, it also came under fire for Corbyn’s past contacts with Hamas and Hezbollah, both sworn to Israel’s destruction.
A statement from Corbyn’s spokesperson said he would continue to engage such groups, while denying that doing so was tantamount to an endorsement.
“Jeremy Corbyn has been a longstanding supporter of Palestinian rights and the pursuit of peace and justice in the Middle East through dialogue and negotiation,” the statement read, according to the Telegraph newspaper. “He has met many people with whom he profoundly disagrees in order to promote peace and reconciliation processes, including in South Africa, Latin American, Ireland and the Middle East. He believes it is essential to speak to people with whom there is disagreement, particularly when they have large-scale support or democratic mandates.”
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