Jeremy Corbyn just stood up to Israel’s leader in a spectacular way

Jeremy Corbyn and benjamin netanyahu
Fréa Lockley

On 13 August, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a blistering attack on Jeremy Corbyn. But Corbyn’s response was swift and spectacular. Corbyn showed, without doubt, that he is ready to lead the country as a new kind of leader; one who stands up for oppressed people around the world.

“Unequivocal condemnation”

On 11 August, the Daily Mail claimed that Corbyn had taken part in a wreath-laying ceremony “near the graves” of “Palestinian leaders believed to be connected to… [a] terror attack on Israelis at the 1972 Olympics”.

Corbyn issued a statement to put the record straight, saying:

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I was there because I wanted to see a fitting memorial to everyone who has died in every terrorist incident everywhere because we have to end it. You cannot pursue peace by a cycle of violence; the only way you can pursue peace [is] by a cycle of dialogue.

A few hours later, Netanyahu responded on Twitter. But Corbyn came straight back, saying his claims were “false”:

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Free Palestine

Corbyn directly challenged Netanyahu over discrimination “against Israel’s Palestinian minority”:

Corbyn is opposing Israel’s “human rights violations and breaches of international law”. As Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) explains:

Israel is in violation of over 60 UN resolutions, while its Occupation policies violate several articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a range of international human rights and humanitarian laws.

What’s more, in 2017 the UK also licensed record numbers of arms sales to Israel. According to CAAT, this was £221m in 2017, bringing the total to £340m since its 2014 bombing campaign in Gaza. As the Guardian reports, Israel is now the “eighth largest market for UK arms companies”.

And as rapper Lowkey pointed out, “wreaths don’t kill people”. Arms sales do:

And thousands more supported Corbyn’s words.

“Promoting justice and peace”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell explained that Corbyn has “devoted his life to promoting justice and peace”:

That was a fact which Labour MP Chris Williamson also reiterated:

In 2017, Corbyn also explained that his “whole life” was about “the search for peace”:

In 2018, Israeli forces have already killed a record number of Palestinian children “outside of large-scale Israeli military offensives”, according to Defence for Children International Palestine. Meanwhile, the UN has warned of “enormous risks” to the people of Gaza after Israel blocked fuel supplies.

Netanyahu’s government is behind these acts. And thousands of people who believe in peace stand by Corbyn.

As a direct result of Netanyahu’s criticism, Corbyn has shown himself to be a new kind of leader – one who’s willing to show solidarity with Palestinian people and millions of other people who face the consequences of oppressive governments every day.

Get Involved!

– Support Jewish Voice for Labour and Jewish Voice for Peace.

– Support the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Also, find out more about the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, and see previous Canary articles on Israel and Palestine.

– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured images via author’s own and U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/Wikimedia

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