Thornberry: ‘a lot of work’ needed to heal rift between Labour and UK Jews

Labour's shadow foreign secretary acknowledges Jeremy Corbyn is "extremely critical" of Israel


Emily Thornberry has called for “a bit of movement on both sides” to help tackle the Labour Party’s continued antisemitism crisis under leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In an interview given during last week’s trip to Israel, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary said: “There is clearly a lot of work to be done between the Labour Party and the British Jewish community.

“And I am prepared to do whatever it takes in order to be able to open channels again and to see if we can sort this out.

“We need a bit of movement on both sides.”

Ms Thornberry also said that the Middle East policy of the current British government was “entirely in line” with that of Labour’s, but she believed recognition of Palestine should “happen sooner rather than later.”

She added: “That’s the only difference – the government says Palestine should be recognised but we won’t say what the date is.”

During the interview with the Times Of Israel, Ms Thornberry also acknowledged that Mr Corbyn was “extremely critical of the Israeli government”.

But she insisted a lot of Israeli’s were also “pretty critical” of their government and claimed ties between the UK and Israel would continue to “remain strong” even if Mr Corbyn became Prime Minister.

She hit out at Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu over the “continued occupation” of the Palestinians and added: “We think the Israeli government has lost its way”.

In further hard-hitting comments she said Priti Patel, the former International Development Secretary who resigned last week over secret meetings in Israel, had behaved like a “silly woman” and said Prime Minister Theresa May should have sacked her.

Ms Thorberry spoke during a four day trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories - her first official trip to the region since she was appointed to the role of shadow foreign secretary.

Her schedule - organised by Labour Friends of Israel and Labour Friends of Palestine - included a series of meetings with senior Israeli Labour Party MKs and she attended a wreath-laying at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

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