British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been accused of failing to tackle anti-Semitism in his party, attempted to get Israel banned from Eurovision and other European events eight years ago
In 2010, Corbyn proposed that Israel be banned from all European cultural and sporting events. At the time, he was a member of Parliament for Labour. He was elected party leader in 2015.
Corbyn’s proposal was titled “European Sporting and Cultural Relations with Israel.” It had one co-sponsor, did not receive any support from other lawmakers and was shelved in June 2010.
The motion read: “The House considers that since Israel is not in Europe then it is not appropriate that it competes in European sporting and cultural events, and therefore requests the Government to encourage [organizers] of events for European countries to exclude Israel.”
A spokesman for Corbyn told the British tabloid The Sun that Corbyn made the proposal to help Israel achieve peace with the Arab world.
“Israel competes outside of its region because of the ongoing conflict. Peace is a prerequisite to normalize relations, which would include Israel being able to compete within its geographic region,” the spokesman said. “Jeremy is utterly committed to peace, a two state solution and the normalization of relations – and this is what that EDM [Early Day Motion] was about.”
Corbyn has long been a virulent critic of Israel. Since then, his critics say, Labour has tolerated anti-Semitism among its members. Labour officials have been expelled from the party for anti-Semitic statements, and a 2016 inquiry into Labour anti-Semitism said there was an “occasionally toxic atmosphere” in the party.
Corbyn has also faced criticism for associating with anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers, and for some statements he has made. In 2009, he described the terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends,” and was also a member of Facebook groups that included anti-Semitic statements.
In March, a protest of Corbyn organized by British Jewish leaders drew some 2,000 people.
Israel is slated to host Eurovision in 2019, after its contestant Netta Barzilai took home the trophy on Saturday night.