x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 November 2017

UK opposition leader Corbyn snubs Balfour event

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND
British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND

The UK’s leader of the opposition has refused to attend an official dinner to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which helped to pave the way for a Jewish nation state.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli premier, has been invited to London by UK prime minister Theresa May to mark the Balfour centenary on Thursday.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause and has refused the invitation to the event. The shadow foreign secretary will attend in his place.

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A series of events across the UK are being held to mark the 100-year anniversary of the statement written by Britain’s then foreign secretary Arthur Balfour on November 2, 1917, in which the British government stated its support for the establishment of a national home for Jewish people in Palestine.

The Balfour Declaration had far-reaching consequences for supporters of the Zionist cause and those living in Palestine. It is widely seen as the starting point of a chain of events that resulted in today’s bitter conflict.