Corbyn’s misdemeanors against Israel and the Jews
By Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
There is now so much information about the misdemeanors of British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn against Jews and Israel that his wrongdoings can be classified into sub-categories.
The first category is his support for genocidal terrorists. Corbyn welcomed representatives of Hezbollah and Hamas at the British parliament in 2009 and called them his “friends.” It took him until 2016, when he was challenged in the House of Commons by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, to renounce his words.
In 2012, on Iranian Press TV, Corbyn praised Israel’s release of 1,000 Hamas prisoners – terrorists who had killed 600 people between them – and referred to the terrorists as “brothers.” In November 2012, he hosted a meeting in Parliament with Musa Abu Maria, a member of the banned terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He has also shared a platform with the Black September terrorist and hijacker Leila Khaled.
In August 2018, the Daily Mail disclosed that four years earlier, in Tunisia, Corbyn had stood with a wreath in his hand next to a memorial plaque commemorating the graves of members of the Palestinian Black September movement. This is the terrorist organization that perpetrated the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
The Telegraph has reported that one of the three main donors to Corbyn’s leadership campaign was Ibrahim Hamami, who supports stabbing Jews in Israel. He is a general practitioner living in London and founder of the pro-Hamas group, the Palestinian Affairs Center. Hamami has also been a columnist at an official Hamas newspaper.
Hamami helped organize the visit to Britain of Raed Saleh, who has described Jews as “bacteria” and “monkeys.” Saleh has also promoted the blood libel, claiming that Jews use the blood of gentile children to bake their bread. Corbyn has shared public platforms with Hamami, who acted as Saleh’s spokesman during the visit.
When Saleh was jailed in Britain, Corbyn called him “a very honored citizen who represents his people extremely well” and said he “looked forward to giving [him] tea on the [House of Commons] terrace.” Soon after his election as Labour leader in 2005, Corbyn hired journalist Seamus Milne, who had praised Hamas for its spirit of resistance, as his communications director.
A second category of misdemeanor is Corbyn’s relationship with Holocaust distorters. He has participated annually in gatherings of a charity led by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen and has given it a donation. More recently, it became known that in 2010, on Holocaust Memorial Day, Corbyn held a meeting in Parliament at which the Netherlands’ best known Jewish antisemite, Hajo Meyer, compared Israel to the Nazis. (Meyer has done this frequently, including in Germany.) A Holocaust survivor claims that Corbyn told a policeman which protesters he wanted removed from that meeting. Only now, eight years later, has Corbyn apologized for attending.
Both Corbyn and Labour Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell signed a parliamentary motion proposing that Holocaust Memorial Day be renamed Genocide Memorial Day. In 2012, McDonnell accused Israel of attempting to commit genocide against the Palestinians.
A third category of Corbyn’s wrongdoings concerns extreme anti-Israel incitement. Substantial information about this is scattered throughout Dave Rich’s 2016 book, The Left’s Jewish Problem. For example, Corbyn chaired a conference that included talks on apartheid in Israel, Western imperialism, and anti-Arab racism. Rich also writes that throughout the 1980s, Corbyn sponsored and supported the Labour Movement Campaign for Palestine (LMCP). This group wanted to “eradicate Zionism while it supported a democratic secular state in place of Israel.”
In 2011, Corbyn presented his opinion on the BBC on a state-funded Iranian TV program. He said about the British broadcaster that “there is a bias toward saying that Israel is a democracy in the Middle East, Israel has a right to exist, Israel has its security concerns.”
In 2012 Corbyn promoted a conspiracy theory about Israel on an Iranian channel, suggesting that it was in “Israel’s interest to kill Egyptians in an attack by Islamic Jihadists.” He also said, “I suspect the hand of Israel in this whole process of destabilization.”
In 2018, Corbyn attended a Passover seder with members of the small Jewdas Group, a radical anti-Zionist Jewish organization that has called Israel a “steaming pile of sewage which needs to be properly disposed of.” In August 2018, information about a video was disclosed that shows Corbyn making a speech in 2013 for the Palestinian Return Center in which he draws comparisons between the actions of the Israeli government and Nazism.
This year, Jonathan Arkush, the outgoing president of the British Jewish umbrella organization the Board of Deputies, noted that Corbyn had been chairman of Stop the War, an organization that is “responsible for some of the worst anti-Israel discourse.” Arkush added that Corbyn has antisemitic views and was making Jews question their place in Britain.
A fourth category of Corbyn’s wrongdoing concerns antisemitism. In 2012, he endorsed an antisemitic mural on Facebook. He did not apologize for this until six years later. He was also a member of various Facebook groups where antisemitic material was posted.
Corbyn is not the only member of his family who is highly problematic as far as antisemitism is concerned. His brother Piers tweeted that the “Jewish conspiracy will force Trump into war just like they did to Hitler.” The Daily Mail discovered a Nazi cartoon on his youngest son Tommy’s Facebook page. He, too, was a member of several antisemitic Facebook groups.
If only previous Labour leaders and their staffs had been more alert, Corbyn would have been expelled from the party years ago. Corbyn’s predecessor as Labour leader, Ed Miliband, is the main culprit behind this failure. A mainstream party should not have self-defined “friends” and “brothers” of terrorists in its ranks. The same is true for those who support Holocaust distorters. Corbyn belongs in both categories.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is a Senior Research Associate at the BESA Center and a former chairman of the Steering Committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He specializes in Israeli–Western European relations, antisemitism, and anti-Zionism, and is the author of The War of a Million Cuts.
BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family