Corbyn: ‘absolutely no doubt’ I was victim of an Israeli smear campaign

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Corbyn: ‘absolutely no doubt’ I was victim of an Israeli smear campaign

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tells Lebanese television: 'Benjamin Netanyahu couldn't wait to condemn me for my support of the Palestinian people.'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Jeremy Corbyn has said he has “absolutely no doubt whatsoever” he is the victim of a smear campaign orchestrated by Israel.

In a new interview with the Beirut-based pan-Arabist satellite television channel Al Mayadeen, the former Labour leader claimed: “Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t wait to condemn me for my support of the Palestinian people.”

Asked if he believed “support of Palestine played a role in the smear campaign aimed against him?” Corbyn told his interviewer: “I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that my clearly stated support for the rights of the Palestinian people to be able to live in peace, free from occupation, from being under seize as in Gaza, and for those living in the refugee camps, particularly those in Lebanon… with the right to return, played a factor in all of this.”

Corbyn called for “recognition of the historical wrong done to the Palestinian people.”

He suggested the “rights of the Palestinian people are central to our thinking,” before claiming the 1917 Balfour Agreement had subsequently been interpreted in a way “that wasn’t there in the declaration.”

Corbyn added: “The declaration itself said it also recognised the inhabitants of what is now Palestine, which has never happened. Instead their rights were ignored, and still largely are.”

But the Islington North MP, who had the Labour whip removed over his response to the EHRC report into antisemitism, said he continued to work with “many great human rights campaigners both in Palestine and Israel, who want to be able to live in peace.”

During the interview, Corbyn also suggested the West’s support of Ukraine where they were “pouring arms in” would not bring about a solution but would “prolong and exaggerate this war.”

Corbyn claimed: “Expanding NATO isn’t going to bring about a longer-term peace, [but it] will only bring about greater, greater strain and greater stress.”

He suggested: “What I find disappointing is hardly any of the world’s leaders use the work peace.. they all use the language of war.”

Corbyn claimed if the UN could not negotiate a peace between Russia and Ukraine “bring in someone else who can, the African Union, the League of Arab States.”

Discussing refugees he added: “Europe has been very welcoming of Ukrainian refugees, and that’s good, that’s right. Sadly, they’re not so welcoming and not so enabling of refugees coming from Yemen or anywhere else.”

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