Jeremy Corbyn rejects invitation to Balfour centenary celebration with Israeli PM

Jeremy Corbyn at a pro-Palestine demo [Image: Haaretz]

Jeremy Corbyn has turned down an invitation to an official dinner celebrating the Balfour centenary with the Israeli Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Theresa May invited her Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to London to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.

Signed on 2 November 1917 by British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour, the declaration pledged the UK government’s support for a Jewish “national home” in Palestine.

The document was seen as having paved the way for the creation of a Zionist state.

The Palestinian National Authority has described the declaration as “our tragedy” and has called on Theresa May to use this week’s centenary to issue an apology, a move Downing Street has rejected.

The Labour leader, a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, was invited to attend the event which is being thrown to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.

But Corbyn has reportedly turned down the invite and has allegedly asked the shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry to attend instead.

Keeping in line with official UK government policy, Corbyn supports a two-state solution to the ongoing conflict between the countries.

The Labour leader sparked a similar row at the Labour Party conference in Brighton last month when he turned down an invitation by Labour Friends of Israel, which was attended by the Israeli ambassador Mark Regev.

He sent Ms Thornberry in his place claiming he had to work on his leader’s speech but was then spotted at three other receptions on the same evening.

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