Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Corbyn’s friends ‘want Israel eliminated’, says leading Israeli Labour figure

Hilik Bar urged the Labour leader to "speak more loudly and more clearly about the right of Israel to exist"

    Hilik Bar, the deputy speaker of the Knesset (Photo: Getty Images)
    Hilik Bar, the deputy speaker of the Knesset (Photo: Getty Images)

    The Deputy Speaker of the Knesset has accused Jeremy Corbyn of befriending "those elements in the Middle East who want to live here instead of us [Israel], and not next to us”.

    Hilik Bar, whose idea it was for the Israeli Labour leader Avi Gabbay to write to his British counterpart last month to freeze relations, told the JC: “We are for a two-state solution, as Mr Corbyn says he is. But his friends are not for a two-state solution.

    "They are for the elimination of Israel, and he needs to speak more loudly and more clearly about the right of Israel to exist. So far he is not doing this. We can choose our friends and our allies, and he is not one of the second. I wish it were not the case”.

    Defending the timing of the letter to Mr Corbyn, Mr Bar said Israel had written to him several times previously but had received no reply, and that the Israeli Labour Party had shown its “lack of enthusiasm” for him to various visiting MPs who had come to Israel.

    “We didn’t go to the last two Labour conferences in the UK in protest at the various actions that we saw. This didn’t come out of nowhere. When we saw the protest by the Jewish community, we felt we owed it to our Jewish brothers and sisters in the UK to say, enough is enough”.

    Speaking in Jerusalem in the wake of the latest diplomatic row over Mahmoud Abbas’s much-criticised speech last week in which he suggested the Holocaust was caused by Jews, Mr Bar, who chairs the two-state solution committee in the Knesset, warned that while Mr Abbas was “by no means the perfect partner”, nevertheless “the next generation after him will not be better”, and were likely to be more extreme and more nationalistic.

    He believed neither Israel nor the Palestinians had “a leadership willing to cross the Rubicon and walk that extra mile for peace” and said that he had urged Benjamin Netanyahu to take “brave steps”, but suggested the government had “a very defeatist attitude” towards the two-state solution.

    Mr Bar said he feared that post-Abbas, his Palestinian successors would “face us with a dilemma that I don’t want Israel to face. What if one day they come to us and say, take the keys of the Palestinian Authority, we don’t want a state, we want to be Israeli.

    "And then we are faced with a choice — to give them citizenship, in which case, demographically, we are screwed — or not to give them citizenship, in which case we will be blamed for apartheid. Anyone who accuses Israel of apartheid today is either a liar or doesn’t know what apartheid is.

    "But if one day the Palestinian Authority does not exist, and we don’t give them citizenship… then we will have to see if it is true or not.”

    Both solutions were equally bad, he said, and urged courage on both sides.

    Mr Bar said he was optimistic the centre-left in Israel could still win power at the next elections.

    Among his party’s first acts, he said, would be to craft a proper response to the Arab Peace Plan, which he felt was becoming more and more viable with renewed changes.

    “Israel didn’t even reply for 15 years”, he said, “so I think it is only right that we respond”.

UK News

Alison Chabloz convicted over antisemitic songs in landmark case

Ben Weich

Yesterday, 10:42

Alison Chabloz convicted over antisemitic songs in landmark case
UK News

'Hate' metal band dropped from UK tour over 'sick fascination with Nazis'

Rosa Doherty

Daniel Sugarman

Thu, 10:20

'Hate' metal band dropped from UK tour over 'sick fascination with Nazis'
The Diary

The Jewish page boys at the Royal Wedding

Jessica Weinstein

Wed, 10:38

The Jewish page boys at the Royal Wedding
UK News

Anger over Labour Livingstone resignation collusion

Lee Harpin

Thu, 16:22

Anger over Labour Livingstone resignation collusion
World

US 'could recognise Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights within months'

Daniel Sugarman

Thu, 09:17

US 'could recognise Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights within months'
UK News

Philip Roth dies aged 85

Daniel Sugarman

Wed, 09:08

Philip Roth dies aged 85
World

Ex-Israeli PM defends IDF's actions in Gaza

Daniel Sugarman

Thu, 13:40

Ex-Israeli PM defends IDF's actions in Gaza
UK News

Meet the original Duke of Sussex – friend of British Jews

Ben Weich

Wed, 14:59

Meet the original Duke of Sussex – friend of British Jews
UK News

Ken Livingstone: Why I quit Labour

Rosa Doherty

Tue, 16:38

Ken Livingstone: Why I quit Labour