(JTA) – Jeremy Corbyn, the newly elected leader of Britain’s Labour Party who has been accused of being anti-Israel, was heckled at a pro-Israel event.
Corbyn spoke Tuesday night at a reception of the Labour Friends of Israel organization held at the party conference in Brighton.
During his 10-minute speech he did not mention Israel, the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported, though he did refer to Palestine and the Middle East.
Following his speech, a heckler shouted “say the word Israel, say the word Israel.” Security forcibly removed the heckler from the room.
“I have taken an enormous interest in the affairs of the Middle East,” Corbyn said. “I’ve been nine times and met many people – some I agree with, some I don’t.”
He also said the issue of recognizing Palestine could come up in the new Parliament.
“The issue of recognition of Palestine is something that was very important in the last Parliament – it may well come up again,” he said. “I know there are people in this room that think it was premature. There were some in this room who supported it. Everybody recognizes the only way forward is through peace, through negotiation, through dialogue and discussion, and through recognition of the rights and needs and traditions of all of the peoples of the region. That surely has to be the right way forward.”
He called for the lifting of the “siege” on Gaza.
“There is a great deal of passion, and we have seen some of that displayed this evening, and I understand that. There is passion on both sides in this unresolved conflict,” Corbyn said. “The goal all of us must work towards is to turn that passion into passion for a peace process and not into conflict and into war.”
Corbyn has called Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah “friends,” and recently defended an Anglican minister who posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories online. Corbyn also has publicly endorsed a blanket arms embargo on Israel and the boycott of Israeli universities involved in weapons research.