British Labour leader to boycott Netanyahu

Jeremy Corbyn announces refusal to participate in 100th anniversary of Balfour Declaration. Israeli ambassador in London censures.

Mordechai Sones,

 Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
Reuters

British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn refuses to attend celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and will boycott an official dinner with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He has asked Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry to take his place.

The Sunday Times reported that the Israeli ambassador to London, Mark Regev, had been informed of the refusal to participate in the event. "Those who oppose the historic declaration are extremists who do not recognize Israel's right to exist and are very similar to terrorist groups such as Hamas," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Netanyahu will be in Britain this week and will participate in the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration along with British Prime Minister Theresa May. Hundreds of British officials were invited to the festivities and most will attend the event, accentuating Corbyn's refusal to attend.

The Labor leader's refusal to participate in the event is not surprising. Only two years ago Corbyn described the Balfour Declaration as "a confused text that our governments have not really liked over the years, and also representatives of the Jewish community in Britain would prefer it be buried and not be publicized."

Last year, incontrast, Prime Minister May published an article rejecting Palestinian Arab demands to renounce the Balfour Declaration. "We must do everything to ensure that Israeli citizens will live in security in their own country, and we support Israel's right to defend itself," she wrote.

"We will soon mark the 100th anniversary of the approval of Foreign Minister Arthur James Balfour of the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom's support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people," she said, "We have seen a boycott of Israelis and anti-Semitic attacks here in Britain. I am determined to fight this injustice. There is no place in Britain for racism."








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