Corbyn Says He Described “Pro-Israel Activists” As Zionists In Accurate Political Sense, Not “Jewish People”

Labour Leader has defended a 2013 speech, saying he was not referring to Jewish people when he made comments regarding “British Zionists” not understanding “English irony”.

Admitting that he will be more careful with his language now, Jeremy Corbyn insisted that he was referring to a specific group of “pro-Israel activists” and had not used the term Zionist as a “euphemism” for the Jewish community.

“[British Zionists] clearly have two problems: one is they don’t want to study history and, secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either,” Corbyn said, according to a footage obtained by the MailOnline ​this week.

The controversial comment was made in 2013 when the leader was giving a speech at a London conference to “defend the Palestinian ambassador in the face of what I thought were deliberate misrepresentations” from people “for whom English was a first language, when it isn’t for the ambassador”.

Following a continuing row around anti-Semitism in the Labour party, Corbyn’s comment sparked outrage from a dozen MPs who asked for an apology.

Read More: Israel’s “Jewish Nation-State” Law Inflames 70 Years Of Inequality & Discrimination Against Non-Jews

On Friday, Corbyn said in a statement that he had used the term Zionist “in the accurate political sense and not as a euphemism for Jewish people and that is made clear in the rest of my speech that day”.

Corbyn continued: “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 antisemites as code for Jews.”

The statement came after Helen Grant, a Tory vice chairwoman for communities had written to the parliamentary commissioner for standards Kathryn Stone, asking that the Labour Leader be investigated over his speech.

Grant wrote: “It is clear that Mr Corbyn has not reached the bar set by the code of conduct for members, and I therefore ask that you investigate.”

John Martin McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer defended Corbyn, noting that his comments were taken out of context while highlighting the fact that the Leader had devoted his life to securing peace in the Middle East.

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