Corbyn’s closest aide Seumas Milne is urged to retract past claims that Israel is a ‘racist state’
- Seumas Milne, Jeremy Corbyn’s closest aid as been urged to retract past comments about Israel
- Mr Milne, director of strategy and communications, called Israel a racist state
- He has been urged to retract past comments he wrote in the Guardian in 2009
Jeremy Corbyn’s closest aide has been urged to retract past comments about Israel in which he called it a ‘racist state’.
Seumas Milne, the Labour leader’s director of strategy and communications, was a strong critic of Israel during his years as a newspaper columnist.
Some Labour insiders believe his previous statements may lie behind the party’s decision not to sign up fully to the internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism in its code of conduct. One of the parts it omitted states anti-Semitism may include ‘claiming the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour’.
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Mr Milne wrote in The Guardian in 2009: ‘The truth is that throughout the Arab, Muslim and wider developing worlds, the idea that Israel is a racist state is largely uncontroversial…This is a state, after all, created by European colonists, built on the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population.’ Labour MP John Mann, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on tackling anti-Semitism, said: ‘Seumas has said some things that need withdrawing. He should want to withdraw them.’
A Labour spokesman said: ‘It is not anti-Semitic to discuss racism and Israeli state policies using the same standards that would apply to other states.’
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