UK Labour frontrunner invited radical Israeli-Muslim cleric to Parliament for tea
search

UK Labour frontrunner invited radical Israeli-Muslim cleric to Parliament for tea

Jeremy Corbyn praised oft-jailed Islamic Movement’s Sheikh Raed Salah, who defied a ban to visit UK in 2012, as ‘a voice that must be heard’

MP Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the 'No More War' event in Parliament Square in 2014 (Hej JMaill, CC BY-via Wikipedia)
MP Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the 'No More War' event in Parliament Square in 2014 (Hej JMaill, CC BY-via Wikipedia)

Britain’s Labour Party leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn was filmed praising a hate preacher and inviting him to “tea on the terrace” at Parliament, the Daily Mail reported Saturday.

In the 2012 clip, left-wing MP Corbyn can be seen referring to Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the radical wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, as an “’honored citizen” and inviting him to tea in the House of Commons.

Salah has convictions for funding Hamas, contact with Iranian intelligence, assaulting a police officer and leading a violent demonstration among other offenses, and has served several jail terms.

Salah visited Britain in June 2012, despite an order from Home Secretary Theresa May banning him over his political activities. He was detained, held for three weeks and released on bail.

A Jewish politician from the Labour Party said on Friday that the views of Corbyn, who is far ahead in the race to take over the leadership of the main British opposition party, are cause for “serious concern.”

Ivan Lewis, the shadow, or minority, party cabinet minister who is also a former chief executive of the Manchester Jewish Federation, urged his party not to vote for Corbyn.

“Some of [Corbyn’s] stated political views are a cause for serious concern,” Lewis said in letter to his local party members on Friday, according to the Guardian. “At the very least he has shown very poor judgment in expressing support for and failing to speak out against people who have engaged not in legitimate criticism of Israeli governments but in anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

The video in question dates back to 2012. In it, Corbyn says there are voices who see Sheikh Salah as a “dangerous man.” Corbyn says he disagrees, and that Salah “is far from a dangerous man, he’s a very honored citizen. He… represents his people extremely well and his is a voice that must be heard.”

Corbyn said he looked forward to hosting Salah for “tea on the terrace” of the House of Commons. That meeting did not materialize.

Corbyn, who has ties to the Socialist Campaign Group, Amnesty International and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, was criticized on Wednesday by the Jewish Chronicle of London, which claimed that he had ties to “Holocaust deniers, terrorists and some outright antisemites.”

“We are certain that we speak for the vast majority of British Jews in expressing deep foreboding at the prospect of Mr. Corbyn’s election as Labour leader,” the newspaper editorialized.

Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the radical wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, outside Ramla prison near Tel Aviv in 2010. (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90)
Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the radical wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, outside Ramla prison near Tel Aviv in 2010. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90)

The editorial was written a day after the Daily Mail reported that Corbyn defended a conspiracy theorist who blamed Israel for Sept. 11 in February.

In response to the Jewish Chronicle editorial, Corbyn released a statement saying he was “proud to represent a multicultural constituency of people from all over the world and to speak at every opportunity of understanding between Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and other faiths,” the Guardian reported.

Lewis is the first senior Labour politician to attack Corbyn’s credentials on anti-Semitism.

“It saddens me to have to say to some on the left of British politics that anti-racism means zero tolerance of antisemitism, no ifs, and no buts. I have said the same about Islamophobia and other forms of racism to a minority of my constituents who make unacceptable statements,” Lewis said.

Voting by Labour Party members for their next leader began Friday, with results to be announced next month. Britain’s last Labour leader was Ed Miliband, who is also Jewish. He stepped down after losing the general election by a wide margin to David Cameron and the Conservative party in May.

read more:
comments