Jeremy Corbyn, socialist seen as hostile to Israel, elected head of Britain’s Labor Party
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Jeremy Corbyn, socialist seen as hostile to Israel, elected head of Britain’s Labor Party

(JTA) — Jeremy Corbyn, a socialist parliamentarian who has called the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah “friends” and is regarded as hostile to Israel, was elected the new leader of Britain’s Labor Party.

Corbyn, 66, won in the first round of voting on Saturday with 59.5 percent of the vote.

Corbyn succeeds Ed Miliband, who is Jewish, as the opposition party’s leader. Miliband stepped down in May after losing the general election by a wide margin to David Cameron of the Conservative Party.

Corbyn recently defended Rev. Stephen Sizer, an Anglican minister who posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, The Daily Mail has reported. The new Labor chief also said he wanted to involve Hamas and Hezbollah, groups that are committed to destroying Israel, in peace talks.

Corbyn has said that he plans to appoint a special envoy for Jewish affairs to communicate with the local Jewish community, as well as a similar position to reach out to the Muslim community.