UK Labour’s Corbyn to Snub Netanyahu in Balfour Fest

Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is reportedly planning to snub Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when he goes to London this week for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

Corbyn has decided not to attend a formal dinner with Netanyahu, according to the Sunday Times, and will send Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry to represent Labour.

No reason was given for the decision by Corbyn, who has often sympathized with the Palestinians against Israel, and has been tainted by a series of anti-Semitism scandals in the Labour ranks.

Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Mark Regev, told the Times on Sunday that “Those who oppose the Balfour Declaration are exposing themselves for the extremists they are,” though he did not name Corbyn.

Regev added that a “vocal minority” of students and professors in the U.K. continue to oppose Israel’s existence 70 years after the country was founded. He congratulated Britain for being “on the right side of history” in its support for “a homeland for the Jewish people,” in the words of the Balfour Declaration.

This will be the second time in a month that Corbyn has boycotted Israel-related events. In September, he also sent Thornberry to a Labour Friends of Israel gathering in his stead.

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