Israel’s Labor cuts ties with Corbyn, citing anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel
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Israel’s Labor cuts ties with Corbyn, citing anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel

Avi Gabbay suspends relations with UK opposition leader over his 'hostility' to the Jewish community and 'public hatred of the policies of Israel'

Head of the Zionist Union party Avi Gabbay speaks at a conference organized by "Makor Rishon" and the Israeli Democracy Institute at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, March 11, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Head of the Zionist Union party Avi Gabbay speaks at a conference organized by "Makor Rishon" and the Israeli Democracy Institute at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, March 11, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s opposition Labor party said Tuesday it was suspending relations with British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, accusing him of showing hostility to the Jewish community and allowing anti-Semitic statements and actions from his party officials.

Labor leader Avi Gabbay sent a letter to Corbyn informing him of the decision. The suspension of ties applies only to Corbyn’s office and not the party as a whole.

“It is my responsibility to acknowledge the hostility that you have shown to the Jewish community and the anti-Semitic statements and actions you have allowed as leader of the Labour Party UK,” Gabbay wrote.

“This is in addition to your very public hatred of the policies of the Government of the State of Israel, many of which regard the security of our citizens and actions of our soldiers — policies where the opposition and coalition in Israel are aligned.”

Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking after he retained his parliamentary seat in Islington north London, June 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

Acknowledging the long history of friendship between the two parties and their previous leaders, Gabbay said that on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day he had no choice but to halt all formal relations with the British opposition leader.

“As Israel approaches Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day this week, we are reminded of the horrors of anti-Semitism in Europe and our commitment to combating anti-Semitism of all forms and in all places,” Gabbay wrote. “As such, I write to inform you of the temporary suspension of all formal relations between the Israel Labor Party and the Leader of the Labour Party UK.”

Corbyn has been accused of not doing enough to deal with what is seen as a serious problem of anti-Semitism in his party. He has himself faced questions about his own links to known anti-Semites, past comments on Israel, and associations with vehemently anti-Israel figures.

Earlier this week Corbyn called for Britain to review its arms deals with Israel amid a series of escalating events along the Gaza border and slammed the “silence from the international powers.” He also said the UK must investigate the latest “illegal and inhumane” incidents carried out by the Israel Defense Forces there.

Last week he faced sharp criticism from some of his own lawmakers for attending a Passover event hosted by a Jewish far-left group that has dismissed claims of anti-Semitism in Labour as “faux-outrage” and called for Israel to be “disposed of.”

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