Veteran parliamentarian Jeremy Corbyn, whose far-left credentials have found favor in his party even as his overtures to radical Islamists caused concern among British Jews, on Saturday overwhelmingly beat out his three younger and more centrist opponents to become the new head of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party. Corbyn, who has been empathetic to Hamas and Hezbollah — terror groups committed to destroying Israel — is widely regarded as one of the British MPs most hostile to Israel.
Winning 59.5 percent of the ballot in the first round — more than the half required — left Corbyn the clear victor, and negated the need for a second round of voting.
Foreign affairs and defence:
- Corbyn speaking at a No More War event at Parliament Square in August 2015. He has stated that NATO is to blame for the crisis in Ukraine and described Russia’s actions as “not unprovoked”.
but Corbyn has been particularly vocal on Middle East foreign policy:
- He is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, regularly campaigning against conflict in Gaza and what the organisation considers to be apartheid in Israel.
- In an interview on Channel 4 News in July 2015 he was asked why he had called representatives from Hamas and Hezbollah “friends” at a parliamentary meeting.
Corbyn explained that he had used the word in a “collective” sense, and does not condone the actions of either organisation. “There is not going to be a peace process unless there is talks involving Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas and I think everyone knows that, ” he argued.
- He has called for the lifting of sanctions as part of a negotiated full settlement of issues concerning the Iranian nuclear programme, and the starting of a political process to decommission Israel’s nuclear weapons.
- At the height of the Iraq conflict Corbyn stated that he “saluted” the deaths of Western troops.
In July 2015, Corbyn said that if Prime Minister David Cameron negotiated away workers’ rights and environmental protection as part of his renegotiation of Britain’s membership of the European Union (EU), he would not rule out advocating for a British exit in a proposed referendum on EU membership.