Socialist Worker

Corbyn says he’s right to stand up for Palestine

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2617

Corbyn slammed Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip

Corbyn slammed Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Jeremy Corbyn has finally hit back after weeks of accusations of antisemitism levelled at him over his support for Palestine.

On Monday night Corbyn slammed Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who had attacked him for appearing at the grave of a Palestinian fighter.

Netanyahu said Corbyn deserved “unequivocal condemnation from everyone”.

But Corbyn said, “What deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children.”

It came after Corbyn was attacked for appearing at a memorial ceremony in Tunisia to commemorate those killed in an Israeli airstrike there in 1985.

Some 47 people were killed by the Israeli attack on the Tunisian base of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Photographs also appear to show him holding a wreath near the graves of Palestinians said to have been involved in the resistance group Black September.

The group was named after a massacre of thousands of Palestinians by British ally Jordan in 1970.

Hostage

It held Israeli athletes hostage during the 1972 Munich Olympics to demand the release of hundreds of Palestinians from Israeli jails.

The hostages died during a gun battle when West German police opened fire after breaking a promise made during negotiations.

Corbyn’s critics seized on his appearance at the memorial to accuse him of supporting “terrorism”. They described his criticism of Israel as an irrelevant diversion.

It is stinking hypocrisy from those who have used accusations against Corbyn to defend Israel from criticism and undermine support for the Palestinian struggle.

Israeli airstrikes on the Palestinian Gaza Strip killed a pregnant woman and her one year old daughter last week.

And two Palestinians were killed—and 900 injured—during a protest last Friday.

Speaking after the latest bombardment, Netanyahu said Israel’s airstrikes were meant to “exact an additional heavy price” for Palestinian resistance.

Yet Netanyahu is still welcomed to Downing Street whenever he visits Britain—as he was in June this year.

So was Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, whose bombs have massacred tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians.

Many of those who attack Corbyn for sympathising with Palestinian resistance—including Labour MPs—have justified Israeli massacres and defended Britain’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Corbyn claimed he appeared at the memorial to “pursue peace” and “dialogue”. But this opened him up to questions about why he never met with Israelis fighting the Palestinians.

Corbyn initially struggled to defend himself. He then found that the best way to hit back is to come out unashamedly on the side of Palestinians fighting back.

Public Meeting: Corbyn, Antisemitism and Justice for Palestine: Tuesday 21 August, 7pm, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. Speakers include: Tariq Ali author, Salma Karmi-Ayyoub British-Palestinian human rights lawyer, Richard Kuper Jewish Voice for Labour, Rob Ferguson Jewish anti-racist, Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition, Ben Jamal director Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Details at bit.ly/2B8CigN

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