The Palestinian Authority is backing the British Labour Party over its controversial adoption of a definition of anti-Semitism that does not include Israel criticism and has called on party leader Jeremy Corbyn not to “give in” to pressure to change it.
The definition adopted by Labour, which strips out clauses from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition dealing with criticism of Israel, has been met with anger from British Jewry and further added to criticism the party has been soft on dealing with anti-Semitism under Corbyn.
Manuel Hassassian, the PA’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, hailed Corbyn for his “principled stance” on the matter, the UK Times newspaper reported on Monday.
“Pro-Israeli interest groups in Britain are using the anti-Semitism row to silence criticism of Israel,” Hassassian was quoted saying.
He applauded Labour for not adopting the full IHRA definition, under which he claims “accusations of racism against Israel could be deemed anti-Semitic.”
“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 legitimize its prolonged occupation of the Palestinians rather than protecting Jews worldwide,” Hassassian said.
On Sunday, the Hamas terror group said that it “salutes” Corbyn for his views.
After tweeting the rhetorical question “Do you endorse Jeremy Corbyn for UK Prime Minister?” the terror group, which seeks to destroy Israel, gave its answer.
“We Salute Jeremy Corbyn’s supportive positions to the Palestinians, but the issue of him as prime minister is an internal British issue and we respect the choice of the British people.”
The Labour leader, long a supporter of the Palestinian cause and a strident critic of Israel, has in the past been criticized for calling terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah “friends” when inviting members for a parliamentary meeting in 2009. He later downplayed the comment and said he regretted using the term.
Still, several reports have surfaced in recent weeks showing Corbyn’s ties to Palestinian terrorists. On Sunday night, the Telegraph reported that Corbyn sat on a panel in 2012 alongside Hamas terror leaders, including at least two people who had recently been freed from Israeli jails, where they served time for their involvement in a series of deadly suicide bombings.
A spokesperson for Corbyn told the Telegraph that the Labour leader supports Palestinians in his quest for peace in the region.
“Jeremy has a long and principled record of solidarity with the Palestinian people and engaging with actors in the conflict to support peace and justice in the Middle East. That is the right thing to do,” he said.
Last week, Corbyn was criticized when it emerged that he laid a wreath at an event in Tunis honoring Palestinian terrorists who carried out the 1972 attack on the Munich Olympics, in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed.