The leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has declined an invitation from the pro-Israel lobby to attend a Balfour Declaration centenary gala dinner next month in London.
Corbyn has announced that he would decline an invitation celebrating the hundred-year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the Jewish Chronicle reported on Sunday.
The Balfour Declaration – which was a promise by the British Foreign Secretary in 1917 to establish a homeland for the Jews in Palestine – led directly to the creation of the Zionist regime in 1948 and the dispossession of the Palestinian people.
The Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council in Britain, Jonathan Goldstein, called Corbyn’s decision not to attend the event “deeply unfortunate.”
He said: “I do think it will not have been amiss for Mr Corbyn to understand that the Jewish community will have taken great heart and great comfort for seeing him attend such an event because it recognises the right of Israel to exist.”
Mr Goldstein added that Corbyn had also not attended a reception for Labour Friends of Israel at the party conference in October.
Earlier this month in an article in the Sunday Times, Mr Goldstein criticised the Labour party’s “utter failure to denounce the pernicious anti-Semitism that continues to pervade Labour.”
The Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, tweeted Corbyn’s announcement, adding that Britain should formally apologise and compensate Palestinians for the Balfour Declaration.
The UK Government refused to issue an apology in April this year, saying it had helped to establish a “homeland for the Jewish people in the land to which they had such strong historical and religious ties was the right and moral thing to do, particularly against the background of centuries of persecution.”
The government did, however, recognise that the declaration should have protected Arab political rights.
Protests will take place across Britain next month as Theresa May and her Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, celebrate the centenary.