Richard Burgon, a Labour frontbencher who serves as the shadow justice secretary, made the apology after a freelance journalist published the footage of his remarks in 2014 in which he had described Zionism as the true enemy of peace in Palestine, Presstv Reported.
“The enemy of the Palestinian people is not the Jewish people, the enemy of the Palestinian people are Zionists and Zionism is the enemy of peace and the enemy of the Palestinian people. We need to be loud, we need to be proud in support of a free Palestine,” Burgon had said.
The video was swiftly used by notable pro-Israeli groups and figures in Britain to criticize Burgon amid a row over anti-Semitism in the Labour leadership.
Powerful lobbying groups and their media outlets have been pressuring Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to give up his campaign for the rights of the Palestinian people while describing him and other Labour lawmakers as a threat to the Jews living in the UK.
Corbyn and others have repeatedly denied the accusations while stressing that they would do whatever they can to sort out differences with the Jewish community in Britain while continuing to oppose Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians.
Burgon issued a long statement saying he was sorry for the misunderstanding created by his 2014 remarks and admitted that the term Zionism has “different meanings to different people” in the current British society.
The MP insisted, however, that he had made the remarks at the time while criticizing Israeli Prime Minister “Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and its aggressive expansionist policies”, adding that the Israeli regime was still the main impediment to peace in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“I recognize that such a phrase fails to distinguish between those seeking a peaceful solution in line with international law, and those, such as the current Israeli government, which is undermining efforts towards peace,” said the statement.