Palestinian Envoy Urges Corbyn: Expose ‘Crimes of Israel’s Past’, Fight Its ‘Racist Policies’

Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom Professor Manuel Hassassian speaks during the International Forum Peace and Sport 2007 in Monaco, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
AP/Lionel Cironneau

Jeremy Corbyn has been publicly backed by the Palestinian envoy to the UK in his fight to stem the onslaught of anti-Semitism charges engulfing the Labour Party.

Professor Manuel Hassassian, in effect the chief Palestinian diplomat to the UK, said the Labour leader’s “principled stand has been watched with bated breath by all Palestinians” as he urged Mr. Corbyn to resist any changes to his party’s rules on dealing with the Jewish state.

In a statement published by Sky News, Prof. Hassassian wrote: “As Palestinians, we urge him not to give in to the forces which would like to silence legitimate criticism of Israel’s racist policies and actions against our people and bury the crimes of Israel’s past.”

The Palestinian envoy was referencing growing pressure from MPs and union bosses for Labour to adopt the full list of anti-Semitism examples defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) widely-accepted definition.

Labour’s National Executive Committee decided last month to exclude four examples of anti-Semitism from the IHRA definition in its new code of conduct, including “claiming Israel’s existence was a racist endeavour”.

Activists claim the full IHRA definition could limit legitimate criticism of the Israeli government.

Prof. Hassassian urged Mr Corbyn to resist moves to adopt the full definition. He said:

Labour rightly judged that this example could be used as a tool to challenge criticism of nationalist tendencies and violations of human rights in Israel and legitimise its prolonged occupation of the Palestinians rather than protecting Jews worldwide.

Anybody who is serious about understanding the historical context in which Israel was created will know that 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed by Zionist terror militias and 500 Palestinian villages destroyed.

It is difficult not to define this as a racist endeavour.

This is not the first time Prof. Hassassian has entered a British political debate. Last November he decried the UK government’s approach to remembering the Balfour Declaration that ensured the establishment of modern Israel, saying it should apologise for the document, not celebrate it.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, he said: “The 67-word letter meant the destruction and destitution of the Palestinian people [and] bringing the Jews from Europe to Palestine – that is a crime against humanity. That is how we look at the Balfour letter.”

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to:



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.