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June 6, 2018 1:31 pm

UK Jewish Groups Slam Corbyn Over Remarks on Gaza Border Deaths

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Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.

UK Jewish groups have taken Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to task after he called Britain’s lack of support for an independent probe of recent deaths in Hamas-orchestrated riots on the Israel-Gaza Strip border “morally indefensible.”

Sheila Gewolb — senior vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews — said on Wednesday, “Every country has the right to defend its own borders. Jeremy Corbyn’s statement failed to show any appreciation for the threats that Israel faces, nor for the fact that terrorist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad have admitted that many of those on the front line were their own operatives, under order to breach the border fence and ‘tear out the hearts’ of Israeli civilians living on the other side.”

“If Mr. Corbyn wants to be a credible peace broker he has got to show that he understands Israel’s security needs,” Gewolb continued. “He also has to answer the question about what he would do if hundreds of members of a terrorist organization like Daesh were trying to breach a UK border fence, under orders to kill British citizens.”

Paul Charney — chairman of the British Zionist Federation (ZF) — said, “The ZF is disappointed but sadly not surprised by Mr. Corbyn’s statement on Gaza that was read at the small demonstration yesterday. To make a statement about Gaza on the day that acres and acres of Israeli land had been burnt by rioters launching firebombs attached to kites, with no mention of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Egypt, or the continued attempt to breach Israel’s border from below ground and above is exactly as Mr. Corbyn said, ‘morally indefensible.’”

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Corbyn’s message was read at a “Right of Return” demonstration attended by hundreds of anti-Israel activists in London on Tuesday.

“In recent weeks, scores of unarmed Palestinian civilians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces,” Corbyn said. “Hundreds have been wounded. Most are refugees or the families of refugees from what is now Israel, and they have been demonstrating for their right to return, week after week.”

“The killing of Razzan Najjar, the 22-year-old medical volunteer shot by an Israeli sniper in Gaza on Friday, is the latest tragic reminder of the outrageous and indiscriminate brutality being meted out, under orders from the Netanyahu government,” he continued. “The silence, or worse support, for this flagrant illegality, from many Western governments, including our own, has been shameful.”

“The UK government’s decision not to support either a UN commission of inquiry into the shocking scale of killings of civilian protesters in Gaza, or the more recent UN resolution condemning indiscriminate Israeli use of force — and calling for the protection of Palestinians — is morally indefensible,” Corbyn went on to say. “Britain, which is a permanent UN Security Council member and has a particular responsibility for a peaceful and just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, should ensure there is a credible independent investigation, genuine accountability and effective international action to halt the killings — and bring Gaza’s ever-deepening humanitarian crisis to an end.”

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