Corbyn: Anti-Semitism is a scourge in any society

British Labour leader insists he is not an anti-Semite, declares he will “die an anti-racist”.

Elad Benari, Canada,

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
Reuters

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn insisted on Sunday that he is not an anti-Semite and said he will “die an anti-racist”.

Corbyn’s comments came in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr when he was asked to apologize over the anti-Semitism crisis in the Labour party.

"Anti-Semitism is a scourge in any society, I have opposed it all my life," he said, when asked to personally apologize.

Asked by Marr whether he is an anti-Semite, Corbyn replied, "No. Absolutely not. I have spent my whole life opposing racism in any form and I will die fighting racism."

Dozens of Labour members have been suspended over their anti-Semitic statements in recent years, and the party has been criticized for its failure to deal with the anti-Semitism within it.

Corbyn himself in the past came under fire for calling Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends” and continues to be plagued by incidents of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel statements.

The Daily Mail recently published photos of the Labour leader at a cemetery in Tunisia holding a wreath near the graves of some of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorists who were responsible for the massacre of the 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Days later, a picture emerged of Corbyn apparently making a salute linked to the Muslim Brotherhood organization.

Labour recently came under fire for its refusal to adopt all the examples in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, before it reversed its decision and adopted the definition.

Marr asked Corbyn in Sunday’s interview, "How did you feel when one your MPs, a Jewish MP, Margaret Hodge, looked you in the eyes and called you an anti-Semite?"

"The matter with Margaret Hodge is closed," Corbyn replied.

Hodge allegedly shouted at Corbyn about anti-Semitism in the party, calling him an "anti-Semite and a racist" and adding, "You have proved you don't want people like me in the party."

The confrontation came during the initial debate on the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. Labour subsequently dropped an investigation into Hodge over the confrontation with Corbyn.

Marr asked Corbyn on Sunday about footage from 2013 in which he was heard attacking a group of British Zionists and claiming they did not understand "English irony" despite living in the country.

Corbyn explained that he was speaking in defense of the Palestinian Authority envoy to the UK, Manuel Hassassian, who was criticized by the individuals he attacked.

"Manuel, whose first language who's first language is not English, but has an incredibly command of English, had made a number of ironic remarks in the interchange with them," he said, adding the two people in question were "very, very abusive to Manuel."

"It was not intended to be anti-Semitism. I have absolute opposition to anti-Semitism in every way because I see where it leads to. Our party has members of all faiths and it is an opening welcome and safe place for them," continued Corbyn.

He struggled to say explicitly if he would have attended the wreath-laying in Tunisia in 2012 if he had known members of Black September were being honored there.

"I went to honor the civilians and children who had been killed. At that time I was not even sure who was in the cemetery who had been killed. I'm not a supporter of Black September of course," he insisted.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)




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