British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn faced criticism on Thursday after comments he made were construed as having compared Israel to the Islamic State terrorist organization.
Speaking at an event presenting Labour’s inquiry into alleged anti-Semitism in its ranks, Corbyn was quoted by British media as saying, “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel than our Muslim friends are for the self-styled Islamic State.”
Corbyn’s reign atop the Labour Party has been tumultuous, with multiple party officials being suspended for allegedly anti-Semitic comments and social media posts.
The rash of anti-Semitic incidents, which included the suspension of MP Naz Shah, who posted on Facebook that Israel should be relocated to America, and former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who suggested that Adolf Hitler was a Zionist, prompted the anti-Semitism inquiry by Labour chairperson Shami Chakrabarti.
Chakrabarti’s survey noted an “occasionally toxic atmosphere” in the party, but found that it was not fundamentally anti-Semitic.
However, in presenting the report, Corbyn touched off a whole new anti-Semitism row.
Labour councillor Sam Stropp, from Wembley, said on Twitter that Corbyn had compared Israel to ISIS and called on him to resign.
Corbyn denied having meant to compare Israel to ISIS. A Corbyn spokesman told the Independent, “He is explicitly stating that people should not be held responsible for the actions of states or organizations around the world on the basis of religion or ethnicity.”