Israel hails Johnson win as defeat for anti-Semitism

Jerusalem (AFP) –


Israel Friday hailed the election defeat of Britain's Labour Party as a "milestone in the fight against hatred" after its leadership was accused of inaction against anti-Semitism in its ranks.

Congratulating British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said their win in the polls was "not just a political victory, it is first and foremost a victory of values."

"The spectre of anti-Semitism loomed large over this campaign, and the British public overwhelmingly voted against it," Katz said.

The Conservative victory was "a testament to British history and values" and served "as an important milestone in the fight against hatred."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added his plaudits.

"Congratulations to my friend @BorisJohnson on your astonishing victory," he wrote on Twitter. "It's part of a global tidal wave for secure borders, a free economy and sovereignty."

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also wished Johnson "great success as you continue to serve as Prime Minister."

A veteran left-winger, first elected to parliament in 1983, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has long been dogged by accusations, which resurfaced during the campaign, that he had turned a blind eye to growing anti-Semitism within the party.

Corbyn supporters countered that the 70-year-old is a lifelong opponent of racism in all its forms and was targeted because of his longstanding support for the Palestinian cause.

With almost all results declared from Thursday's election, Johnson's Conservative party had secured 364 of the 650 seats in parliament.

Labour lost 59 seats to leave it with 203, prompting Corbyn to announce plans to step down as leader.