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Israel journalist at PalExpo: ‘Corbyn’s election could bring change for Palestine’

Veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has claimed that if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn were elected as British prime minister, major changes would happen for Palestine.

Addressing a packed auditorium at London’s Olympia exhibition center this weekend, Levy claimed he is “one of those who believe that if the miracle happens and Corbyn is elected in this country [the UK], this can bring about a major change”.

“I know that Corbyn can present a new language and new discourse,” Levy explained, “and I know he can make a change”.

Levy also addressed the ongoing campaign against Corbyn, who has been accused of failing to tackle anti-Semitism within the Labour party and criticized for his support of the Palestinian cause.

“Corbyn is a victim of a systematic campaign,” said Levy. “He is portrayed in Israel as [former Nazi party leader Adolph] Hitler’s deputy, not much less than this, as an anti-Semite, you name it.”

The Haaretz columnist – who regularly comes under fire within Israel for his outspoken views – stressed that such smear campaigns and the weaponization of anti-Semitism must be criticized and fought against: “We should not surrender to those labels and those accusations, because they are there in order to blackmail, in order to fight anyone who dares to criticize Israel”.

Levy was one of many speakers who attended this year’s Palestine Expo, the world’s largest exhibition about Palestinian culture, art, history, and food, as well as Palestinians’ continued oppression under Israel’s now half-century-long occupation.

The event was organized by British NGO Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) and was attended by hundreds of people and prominent speakers including the grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela.

Mandela stressed that “we have a moral duty to support the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement] and to support the Palestinian struggle”. He congratulated the Palestine Expo for “creating a unique experience which proudly celebrates Palestinian art, history and culture whilst fostering discussion and activism in the UK”, but emphasised to audiences that the event “reminds us of the reality of a nation that has now withstood 71 years of the Nakba,” during which 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes.

The event hosted a number of interactive stalls to help visitors understand the reality of life as a Palestinian refugee or under Israel’s occupation, including BDS bowling to “knock down Israel’s Apartheid” and a walkthrough checkpoint simulating Palestinians’ daily reality in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip.