by Jesse Lempel/TPS
Israeli Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog slammed comments by his UK counterpart Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday that some criticized as comparing Israel with the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization.
“Corbyn’s suggestion of moral equivalence between Israel and ISIS is outrageous, unacceptable, and a betrayal of global Labour values,” Herzog tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “Corbyn’s views represent a consistent hatred of Israel. Like the notorious Ernest Bevin failed, so too will Jeremy Corbyn.”
During the launch of a review of anti-Semitic incidents in the party on Thursday, Corbyn decried stereotyping Jews, explaining: “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organizations.”
The comments received resounding applause, yet after a questioner asked about the comparison Corbyn attempted to clarify: “The point is that you shouldn’t say to someone that just because they’re Jewish you must have an opinion on Israel, any more that you say to anyone who’s a Muslim you must have an opinion on the vile actions being taken by people misquoting the good name of Islam in what they do.”
Yet it appears that some in Israel and around the world, including Herzog, interpreted Corbyn’s remarks as drawing a “moral equivalence between Israel and ISIS.”
Another Israeli Labor MK, Itzik Shmueli, tweeted: “Corbyn has finally lost it! Leadership that disgraces Labour. I suggest to my friends in Labour to kick him out on the grounds of losing contact with reality.” Shmueli, however, argued that Israeli Labor should remain affiliated with British Labour in order to influence the “internal struggle” in the party.
Meanwhile, MK Yair Lapid, of the centrist Yesh Atid party, called upon Herzog to sever ties with the British Labour party, describing Corbyn’s comments as “pure anti-Semitism.”
“I call upon the Labor Party in Israel to cut all ties with their counterpart in the UK until the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, is replaced,” Lapid wrote on Facebook on Thursday. Lapid referred to the deadly terror attack earlier in the day, in which a 17-year-old Arab terrorist broke into a Jewish family’s home and stabbed 13-year-old Halel Yaffa Ariel to death.
“It is unacceptable that on such a difficult day for the State of Israel the Leader of the Opposition in the UK compares Israel and ISIS,” Lapid added. “It’s not only infuriating ignorance, it is pure anti-Semitism. The State of Israel lives by democratic values, morality and justice and fights every day against terror organizations sworn to the murder of innocents.”
MK Tzipi Livni, a leader of the Zionist Union faction partnered with Israeli Labor, tweeted: “Just as not all Muslims are responsible for ISIS, not all Brits are responsible for Corbyn.”
The latest controversy follows a months-long debacle in the British Labour party over anti-Semitic comments by several members who have since been suspended, including calling for the mass deportation of Israel’s Jews and claims that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism.
At the height of the affair in May, Herzog told Israeli media that he was “considering suspending ties” with the British Labour over the anti-Semitic comments, many of which pertained to the Holocaust.
Herzog even sent a letter to Corbyn inviting him to bring a delegation to visit Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, “to engage and better understand the scourge of anti-Semitism.”
Corbyn replied several weeks later, declining the invitation.TPS / Tazpit News Agency