UK party leader Jeremy Corbyn to address pro-Israel event

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Jeremy Corbyn, the newly elected leader of Britain’s Labor Party who has been accused of being anti-Israel, will address a pro-Israel event.

Corbyn will speak next week at the Labor Friends of Israel dinner, his office confirmed Thursday to The Jerusalem Post. Some 400 people, including about 30 members of Parliament, are scheduled to attend the dinner, which traditionally hosts the Labor Party’s leader.

He has called Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah “friends,” and recently defended an Anglican minister who posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories online. Corbyn also has publicly endorsed a blanket arms embargo on Israel and the boycott of Israeli universities involved in weapons research.

His Jewish critics have said that if he is to be trusted, he must first clarify or backtrack from such remarks or stances.

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Labor Friends of Israel chairwoman Joan Ryan, a British lawmaker, called the invitation to the dinner “the start of a process.”

“It’s good that we are opening this dialogue. It would be wrong to turn away,” she told the London-based Jewish Chronicle. “There’s no reason to believe dialogue is not welcome. We have an open door and we will go through it with all our good and strong arguments.”

Corbyn told The Church Times last week that while his immediate family is Christian, he has a “Jewish element” in his background.

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