British pro-Palestine politicians 'scared' to stand up to Israel

British pro-Palestine politicians 'scared' to stand up to Israel
The Palestinian Authority's UK envoy, Manuel Hassassian, believes that the anti-Semitism incident that rocked the Labour Party has now silenced any criticism of Israel.
2 min read
17 May, 2016
Manuel Hassassian has weighed in on the UK Labour Party's anti-Semitism row [Getty]
Palestine's ambassador to the UK has said that leading British opposition figures are now "too scared" to stand up to Israel because "Israeli and Zionist lobbyists are monitoring people in public office."

Manuel Hassassian, Ambassador of the Palestinian General Delegation to the United Kingdom, directed particular criticism towards UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn and new London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Hassassian, 62, said that while Khan may hold personal sympathy for the Palestinians, "in public statements he is trying to avoid it."

"Like Jeremy Corbyn, who was an ardent, staunch supporter of the Palestinians and now we hardly see any statements coming from him in support of Palestine," Hassassian continued.

The Palestinian envoy also criticised London's first Muslim mayor for supporting the capital's hosting of an annual Tel Aviv festival, started under his predecessor Boris Johnson.

Corbyn and Khan, who are among the most senior members of the UK's official opposition, were at odds during the latter's recent mayoral campaign with regards to the anti-Semitism row that has engulfed their party.

Jeremy Corbyn
The Labour Party's anti-Semitism row is the latest
threat to left winger Jeremy Corbyn's leadership [Getty]
Anti-Semitism vs anti- Zionism

The furore over an alleged anti-Jewish tendency within the centre-left party erupted when former mayor and high profile Corbyn supporter Ken Livingstone appeared on a BBC interview to defend Bradford West MP Naz Shah

Shah, 42, was suspended from the party for posting an alleged anti-Semitic image on Facebook suggesting Israel should be moved to the United States.

Livingstone then found himself the subject of a suspension, after he said that Hitler had supported Zionist plans to repatriate German Jews to Israel.

In his interview, Hassassian also weighed in on the debate over whether anti-Zionism amounts to anti-Semitism.

"Politicians should make a distinction between Israel, the settler power, and the Abrahamic religion of Judaism, which is respected by Muslims and Christians," the Palestinian ambassador said.

"We do not have a problem with Judaism. We have to deal with political Zionism, an ideology based on racism and colonialism."