Israeli Labour leader Isaac Herzog makes fresh plea for Jeremy Corbyn to visit Holocaust memorial

Posted On: 
17th November 2016

The leader of the Israeli Labour Party has made a fresh plea for Jeremy Corbyn to visit his country's Holocaust memorial so he can "better understand the danger of anti-Semitism".

Isaac Herzog has again called on Jeremy Corbyn to visit Yav Vashem
PA Images

Isaac Herzog issued the invitation two months after Mr Corbyn turned down his previous request to go to Yav Vashem in Jerusalem, saying there was no space in his diary.

Mr Corbyn instead asked deputy Labour leader Tom Watson to visit in his place. Mr Watson went with a group of the party's MPs this week.

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Speaking following the visit, Mr Herzog said: "I enjoyed meeting with the UK Labour delegation headed by Tom Watson, and representatives of Labour Friends of Israel.

"I believe it’s very important that Labour parliamentarians will visit Israel and learn about the challenges we face and Israel’s perspective in the region. I expressed hope during this meeting that Jeremy Corbyn will respond to my invitation to visit Israel, and most especially Yad Vashem, so that he will be in a position to better understand the danger of anti-Semitism, and indeed the entire story of the Jewish people, and the state of Israel."

Mr Herzog made his initial invitation after Ken Livingstone was suspended by Labour for claiming Adolf Hitler had been a Zionist in the 1930s "before going mad and murdering six million Jews".

He said the visit would allow Mr Corbyn "to witness that the last time the Jews were forcibly transported it was not to Israel but to their deaths".

The Labour leader's decision not to accept Mr Herzog's invitation led to an angry backlash from some of his MPs.

Joan Ryan, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, said: "Given the deep concerns about his commitment to a two-state solution, his labelling of terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah as ‘friends’, and the allegations of anti-Semitism which have occurred on his watch, such a visit should have been a priority."

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn told PoliticsHome: "Jeremy looks forward to meeting and exchanging views as soon as possible."

Sources said the Labour leader had visited Israel several times in the past, and had hoped to meet with Mr Herzog in London this month, but no time could be agreed.