In a letter to the British Guardian newspaper, four Arab MKs lauded Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn “for his longstanding solidarity with all oppressed peoples around the world, including his unflinching support for the Palestinian people. We stand in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and we recognize him as a principled leftist leader who aspires for peace and justice and is opposed to all forms of racism.”
Signed by United Arab List MKs Ahmed Tibi, Masoud Ganaim. Yussuf Jabareen and Jamal Zahlaka, the four said that the letter was written “on behalf of all 13 members of the Knesset who are part of the United Arab List.”
According to the letter, the “struggle for survival” for Israeli Arabs “is more precarious than ever,” because “the Netanyahu government [is] ramping up the racism. While we focus locally, defending what’s left of our ever-diminishing rights, we feel that we must speak out now and register our repugnance at these recent attempts to complete our erasure, by forbidding within the UK Labour party any mention by name of the forces allayed against the Palestinian cause.”
Although “Palestinian Arabs constitute about a fifth of Israel’s citizenry,” the four wrote, “Palestinian citizens of Israel have yet to experience a single day of equality, de jure or de facto.” The same goes for Arabs in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas and in Gaza, as well as for “6 million in exile abroad, prevented from returning to their homeland simply because they are not Jews. As part of the Palestinian people, this has been our lived experience of the Zionist movement since day one.” They decided to write expressing support for Corbyn because “when some try to force the Labour party into using as its litmus test a definition of antisemitism that goes far beyond anti-Jewish animus to include anti-Zionism, we must raise our voices and decry these efforts,” they wrote.
Meanwhile, a report in The Forward said that Corbyn was planning a rally later this month to “prove” that he is not an anti-Semite. The event, called “Corbyn, Antisemitism and Justice for Palestine,” will take place in the town of Bristol – on September 18, Yom Kippur.
According to the publicity for the event, “Criticism of Israel is being conflated with antisemitism in ways that threaten free speech and the right to protest while silencing Palestinian voices. We must vigorously oppose all forms of antisemitism, but we can’t let smears be used to silence criticism of the Israeli state. Jeremy Corbyn – a lifelong anti-racist in all respects and prominent figure in the Palestine solidarity movement – is being labelled an anti-Semite and a racist by those who oppose his politics and leadership of the Labour Party. This meeting will discuss the importance of challenging any attempt at a witch hunt, strengthening the struggle for Palestinian freedom while maintaining zero tolerance for antisemitism and all forms of racism.”
According to the report, two of the featured five speakers are Jewish. According to a notice of the event on social media, “the organizers reserve the right to refuse entry.”