Pro-Israeli lobbyists called on Corbyn on Sunday to explain about comments he made in the interview with the news channel in 2012 about Israel’s alleged role in the massacre of 16 Egyptian police officers that year.
Corbyn said in the interview that it was in no one but Israel’s interest to sabotage the close relations between the then Egyptian government and the Palestinians, Presstv Reported.
“I’m very concerned about it [the massacre] and you have to look at the big picture: in whose interests is it to destabilise the new government in Egypt? In whose interest is it to kill Egyptians, other than Israel, concerned at the growing closeness of relationship between Palestine and the new Egyptian government?” said Corbyn during the interview, adding, “...I suspect the hand of Israel in this whole process of destabilisation.”
Recalling the comments after six years and amid a widening rift Labour’s definition of anti-Semitism, critics called on Corbyn to clarify the comments.
Ivor Caplin, chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement, a renowned pro-Israeli campaign group in Britain, said Sunday that Corbyn had to clarify the comments.
He said Corbyn needs “to provide clarity on his views on this conspiracy theory and any others he may have aired in the past.”
However, a Labour spokesman defended Corbyn’s remarks in the interview and said they had been based on evidences.
“Jeremy’s speculation about the perpetrators of the attacks on the Egyptian border guards was based on previous well-documented incidents of killings of Egyptian forces by the Israeli military,” said the spokesman.
Corbyn’s interview to the Press TV in 2012 came even after Ofcom revoked broadcasting license of the Iranian news channel in the UK.
The new development came amid report suggesting that second Labor MP were being investigated for “abusive conduct” that was related to the party’s new code on anti-Semitism.
Reports said that Ian Austin, the MP for Dudley North, had been sent a letter earlier this month from the party’s head office warning that he may face disciplinary action leading to suspension from the party.
Austin, son of a Jewish refugee family, clashed with the Labour party chair, Ian Lavery, during a session of the House of Commons just before the parliamentary recess, arguing that the party should change the new code to adopt a multi-national definition of anti-Semitism which bans any criticism of the Israeli regime and its actions against the Palestinians.
The MP is the second Labour lawmaker to face such disciplinary action over the anti-Semitism row. Margaret Hodge, a veteran MP known for his ardent advocacy of Israel, also faces an investigation over comments she made about Corbyn when she called the Labour leader a “racist and anti-Semite”.
Corbyn has defended Labour’s new code on anti-Semitism, saying accepting demands of the critics for adoption of a broader definition of anti-Semitism would violate the rights of many Jews who are critical of Israel.
However, under immense pressure from the pro-Israeli lobbies, critics struggle to show that Corbyn’s refusal to broaden the party’s code is a sign of his deep grudge for Israel.
On Thursday, three Jewish newspapers in Britain with strong connections to Israel launched an unprecedented and coordinated attack on Corbyn, claiming a government led by him would pose an “existential threat” to Jewish life in the UK.
The Jewish News, The Jewish Chronicle and The Jewish Telegraph attacked the Labour Party’s alleged “terrible record” on anti-Semitism since Corbyn became leader in 2015. They claimed that the party under Corbyn entertains “contempt for Jews and Israel” and that the Labour Party is now confronted by the very real possibility of being seen as “institutionally racist.”
Corbyn has repeatedly denied being an anti-Semitic, saying he and his family has a record in fighting any type of racism and fascism.