RNA - Corbyn issued a statement late on Friday saying his use of the word Zionist at the time was not meant to offend the Jewish community and should not be viewed as anti-Semite, a practice seen by the Jews as racist.
“I am now more careful with how I might use the term ‘Zionist’ because a once self-identifying political term has been increasingly hijacked by anti-Semites as code for Jews,” said Corbyn, adding that he had used the term Zionist “in the accurate political sense and not as a euphemism for Jewish people.”
According to Press TV, during his speech to the Palestinian Return Center in 2013, Corbyn criticized the “Zionists” for not being educated enough about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On the contrary, he praised the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, Manuel Hassassian, for his accurate information about the issue and also the way he used the English irony “effectively” in his speech, an ability he said was non-existent in many Zionists who had lived in Britain for generations.
“They (Zionists) clearly have two problems. One is that they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, don’t understand English irony either. Manuel does understand English irony, and uses it very effectively. So I think they needed two lessons, which we can perhaps help them with,” said Corbyn in the speech, the footage of which was published Thursday on the website of the Daily Mail newspaper.
The Labour leader elaborated in his Friday statement that his use of the term Zionists was a reference in its own context to a certain group of pro-Israeli activists. He has previously lashed out at those trying to target any criticism of Israel as an insult to the Jewish community while resisting pressures for a full adoption of a pro-Israeli code of conduct on anti-Semitism.