“Usually, you’re not supposed to interfere with the election in other countries, but in this case I’m going to make an exception. Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite.”
So said Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid in Jerusalem on Monday in front of 25 pro-Israel parliamentarians from around the world during a question-and-answer session at the Israel Allies Foundation’s annual Chairman’s Conference.
“If you want to know something [about anti-Semitism] there are experts,” he added, “and the experts are called Jews. So I’m an expert on this one. And we can tell an anti-Semite when we see one. This is old-school, plain anti-Semitism, just using new excuses. And anyone in his right mind should take this into consideration while walking into the polling booth, because racists are racists are racists, and Jeremy Corbyn is a racist.”
On the subject of Israel’s current political stalemate, Lapid was asked to compare the stances of his Blue and White Party and the Likud, particularly on foreign policy issues.
“There is a complete consensus [between the parties] on the fight against BDS. There is a complete consensus on the Golan Heights,” he said. “So there are many similarities between us and Likud on the issues of national security, the fight against global terror led by Iran. The differences would be more on domestic issues—the fight against corruption, how we prioritize the budget, the fight against religious coercion in Israel.”
The two parties’ stances with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was also mostly the same, but with one important difference, he said.
“Both Blue and White and Likud, if there will be a window of opportunity, we will walk through it trying to negotiate a peace deal with the Palestinians. The only difference is we mean it, and they [Likud] do not,” he said.
However, he added that currently there is no point in creating a Palestinian state that is not peace-loving “and has no ability to control the dark forces of Islamic fundamentalism. But if there is a possibility, this is something we will explore with open hearts.”
Lapid later said that any developments on the peace front will come only from the next generation of Palestinians, after the era of 84-year-old Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. That era would likely come to an end in the not-too-distant future, he said.
“There will probably be a transfer of power in the near future,” he said, “and we will have to explore if the positive forces within the Palestinian Authority will take over.”