UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has signaled he is against Israel’s entry ban on prominent Palestine solidarity groups.
“Jeremy is concerned by reports that activists campaigning for justice for Palestinians, against illegal settlements and the ongoing occupation have been barred from Israel,” Corbyn’s spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Electronic Intifada.
All 20 of the human rights groups are now banned from both present-day Israel and the illegally occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, for their support of BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
The publication comes some months after human rights activists and lawyers used Israeli freedom of information rules to press for the release of the list and the methods used to compile it.
But Israel is still refusing to reveal the full list of people it has banned.
The blacklist has been condemned around the world, including by members of the ruling party in South Africa. The African National Congress’s Western Cape branch called it “an attack on South Africans and the ANC.”
BDS South Africa, which includes many ANC activists, is one of the groups on the blacklist.
In a 2015 interview with The Electronic Intifada, Corbyn spoke in support of key elements of the BDS movement – including some forms of academic boycott.
But last month his spokesperson seemed to shy away from this, saying that Corbyn “doesn’t support BDS” but “targeted action aimed at illegal settlements and occupied territories.”
Gilad Erdan, whose ministry leads Israel’s semi-covert war against BDS, had earlier in December claimed that, “there are anti-Semitic views in many of the leadership of the current Labour Party” in the UK. That appeared to be an attack on Corbyn.
Since Corbyn became leader of Labour in 2015, pro-Israel groups in the UK have led a false and malicious smear campaign to defame the party as “institutionally anti-Semitic.”
Despite Corbyn’s long-standing connections to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Israel this week appeared to hint he may be exempted from the entry ban.
Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reported that the ministry’s newly published criteria states that exceptions may be considered for “cases in which the extent of damage by denying entry to an individual is greater than the usefulness of denying entry,” one example being “holders of official positions.”
A ministry spokesperson told anti-Palestinian newspaper The Jewish Chronicle this week that each case would be “judged on its own merits.”
Kate Osamor, a member of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet and a key ally, last month tweeted her support for BDS.
But reading off a speech to an Israel lobby group in November, shadow foreign minister Emily Thornberry condemned BDS as “bigotry.”
Writing in left-wing paper the Morning Star, Ian Sinclair argued this week that Thornberry’s disturbing comments are part of a behind the scenes battle over Labour’s foreign policy.
Sinclair is the author of a book on British protests against the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In this week’s column, he wrote “it is important that all those who want to see an anti-imperialist, humane and sane British foreign policy raise their voices against Thornberry when she glosses over Israel’s abysmal human rights record and tacks too closely to the establishment line.”
On 23 November 2019, EuroPal Forum and Middle East Monitor co-hosted a conference at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury in London on the relations between Europe and Palestine. A first of its kind, the conference brought together individuals at the forefront of discourse on Palestine in
As the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rules that European Union countries must identify products made in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, MEMO and EuroPal Forum are hosting a conference to discuss the EU’s position on major issues related to the occupat