Corbyn met with Hamas boosters in UK parliament in 2015 — report

Six months before being elected Labour leader, MP spoke to extremists who praised suicide bombers and called for attacks on British troops

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves the stage after delivering an address at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, May 24, 2018. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images via JTA)
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves the stage after delivering an address at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, May 24, 2018. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images via JTA)

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn met with members and backers of the Hamas terror group in the UK parliament just six months before being elected to head the party, according to a Tuesday report, in the latest in a series of exposés showing the embattled British politician’s support for the Palestinian terror group.

Corbyn spoke to Daud Abdullah, Azzam Tamimi, Zaher Birawi, and Mohammed Sawalha at a seminar entitled “The politics of reconstruction in Gaza” in the House of Lords in 2015, the UK’s Daily Mail reported.

Abdullah is the director of the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) which organized the visit jointly with the EuroPal Forum, which advocated for Palestinian rights.

He led the Muslim Council of Britain’s six-year boycott of the Holocaust Memorial Day and voted against a 2007 resolution to end the snub.

In 2009, Abdullah signed the Istanbul Declaration affirming support for Hamas and its “victory” in Operation Cast Lead, which is described as a “malicious Jewish Zionist war over Gaza.” The declaration also advocated attacking Royal Navy ships if they tried to stop arms being smuggled to Hamas in Gaza.

Sawalha also signed the Istanbul Declaration. He was Hamas’s West Bank security chief until he fled for London in 1990, using forged documents to escape Israeli authorities. He is the founder and president of the British Muslim Initiative and is active in fundraising and political activities for the terror group.

Tamimi, who has written several opinion pieces for the Guardian advocating on behalf of Hamas, told the BBC in 2004 that being a suicide bomber for the Palestinian cause would be “noble.” At a 2012 UK event he said, “I’d be a martyr for my country, of course,” he said. “If you’re not prepared to die for your country then you are not a patriot.”

Birawi is the chairman of the International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza, which has sent flotillas from Europe to try to illegally enter Gaza. He is seen as close to Hamas leadership. Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade on the coastal enclave, which they say is necessary to prevent Hamas from importing weapons.

The news comes a day after another report found Corbyn had visited Hamas members during a 2010 trip to Israel and the West Bank, but did not meet with a single Jew.

Corbyn also broke British parliamentary rules by failing to disclose that the trip was funded by a lobby group, i24News reported. Corbyn has since been referred to the Parliament’s ethics watchdog over the trip, the London Times reported Tuesday.

The Labour leader was joined on the trip by fellow Labour MP Andrew Slaughter and by Seumas Milne, who currently serves as Corbyn’s director of communications and strategy.

The visit took place from November 5-9, 2010, and was reported at the time by Palestinian Ma’an news agency

Slaughter declared the trip, saying it was sponsored by Friends of Al-Aqsa and The Middle East Monitor (MEMO), a UK-based pro-Palestinian lobbying group. He said that the total costs came to £927 ($1,500), i24News reported. Corbyn did not list the visit to parliament, though at the time MPs had to declare any gifts above £660 ($840).

A detailed summary of the trip was deleted from the MEMO site, but i24News saved a copy of the original report.

Following the visit, Corbyn summarized what he had learned in his regular column in the left-wing Morning Star newspaper.

“It is time to bring those Israelis who committed crimes against humanity to account and to end the EU Israel Trade Agreement while the occupation and settlement policy continues,” he wrote, according to the report.

From the detailed 47-page MEMO report of the visit, it appears that the delegation did not meet with any Jewish Israelis during the four days.

The Labour leader has in the past been criticized for calling terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah “friends” when inviting members for a parliamentary meeting in 2009. He later downplayed the comment and said he regretted using the term.

On Sunday, the Daily Telegraph reported that Corbyn sat on a panel at a 2012 conference in Doha with several Palestinian terrorists sentenced for murder, including then Hamas head Khaled Mashaal, and the head of Hamas’s military wing, who was responsible for the deaths of dozens of Israelis.

Last week, the Times of London published a picture of Corbyn standing next to Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine chief Maher al-Taher, at a commemoration ceremony for the Black September terrorists who took part in the 1972 massacre of 11 Israelis at the Munich Olympics.

Corbyn’s participation in the October 2014 event, in which he was photographed with a wreath near the terrorists’ graves, had already caused an uproar, provoking fierce reactions from British Jews and Israeli politicians alike.

Last month, Labour pointedly decided not to adopt parts of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism that related to Israel.

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