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September 3, 2018 10:12 am

Israeli Arab Knesset Members Back UK’s Corbyn Amid Antisemitism Accusations

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

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British Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his house in London, Aug. 6, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Toby Melville.

A group of Arab lawmakers in Israel on Sunday praised British Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party has been battling accusations of antisemitism for months.

In a letter to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Ahmad Tibi, a deputy speaker of Israel’s parliament, and three other members of the Joint Arab List party said Corbyn had a “longstanding solidarity with all oppressed peoples around the world, including his unflinching support for the Palestinian people.”

Since unexpectedly becoming Labour leader in 2015 after decades spent on the left-wing fringes of the party, Corbyn has repeatedly faced accusations of turning a blind eye to antisemitic comments in the party and among groups he supports.

Corbyn has responded to protests by meeting Jewish community leaders, reassuring Jewish people they are welcome in the party. He has previously apologized for what he has described as “pockets” of antisemitism in his party.

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Israel’s own Labour party suspended relations with Corbyn in April, accusing him of sanctioning antisemitism and showing hostility toward Israeli policies.

In their letter, the Arab members of Israel’s parliament said they recognize Corbyn as “a principled leftist leader who aspires for peace and justice and is opposed to all forms of racism, whether directed at Jews, Palestinians, or any other group.”

Some opinion polls put Labour ahead or level with Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives, meaning he is a potential British leader, although the next election is not due until 2022.

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