If Jeremy Corbyn wins, Labour will be in the extraordinary position of having a leader with among the most extensive links in Parliament to terrorists
Between 2004 and 2008, the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army militia, led by Muqtada al-Sadr, killed at least 70 British soldiers, not to mention thousands of Iraqi civilians. Last February, the man who might become the next leader of the Labour Party shared a platform with al-Sadr’s British representative.
Jeremy Corbyn was helping Sayyed Hassan al-Sadr celebrate “the all-encompassing revolution,” the 35th anniversary of the ayatollahs’ takeover in Iran. In his talk, entitled “The Case for Iran,” he called for the immediate scrapping of sanctions on the country, which had not then promised to restrict its nuclear programme, attacked its colonial exploitation by British business and called for an end to its “demonisation” by the West.
With Mr Corbyn now topping the constituency nominations for the Labour leadership, and backed by the Unite union, the party’s biggest donor,most attention has focused on the escapist heritage artefact that is his economic policy, complete with tax rises, an end to all cuts and the expropriation of private landlords’ property through a tenant right-to-buy.
But if he does win, Labour will also be in the extraordinary position of having as its leader a man with among the most extensive links in Parliament to terrorists, extremists and hardline regimes.”
Mr Corbyn, The Telegraph can reveal, has taken thousands of pounds in gifts from organisations closely linked to the terror group Hamas, whose operatives he once described as “friends”.
He has travelled to Tehran at the expense of a secretive British-Iranian multi-millionaire who has employed a number of other British parliamentarians as consultants to build business links with the country.
He has hosted, promoted and vigorously defended vicious anti-Semites and racists. Nor, of course, was the al-Sadr talk the first time that Mr Corbyn came a little too close to killers of British troops. From the mid-Eighties, a decade before the IRA ceasefire, he worked hard to build links between Labour and the Provos, regularly hosting senior figures from their political wing in Parliament, calling for British withdrawal from Northern Ireland and paying tribute to deceased terrorists.
His defenders call him ahead of his time; his opponents say that, by giving the IRA hope that the armed struggle was working, he and others on the Left actually prolonged the conflict.
These days, however, it is Islamist causes that claim more of Mr Corbyn’s attention. Others on the Left may support negotiating with Hamas, whose aim remains the complete destruction of Israel and which continues to kill civilians, but no other MP does so with quite the frequency and fervour of Mr Corbyn.
In February 2013, he and his wife travelled to Gaza thanks to a £2,800 gift from Interpal, a British charity banned by the US government as “part of the funding network of Hamas” and as a terrorist organisation in its own right.
Interpal is allowed to operate in the UK after claiming it has broken its links with Hamas, a claim accepted by the Charity Commission.
However, Interpal’s managing trustee, Essam Mustafa, was pictured eighteen months ago accompanying the Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, on an official visit in Gaza. The two were filmed clapping and singing an anti-Israeli song in praise of Hamas’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, and Hamas “martyrs.”
Dr Mustafa also paid his respects at the shrine for Ahmed Said Khalil, the head of the al-Qassam Brigades killed in an Israeli airstrike. Dr Mustafa is a former member of Hamas’s executive committee.
In 2012, Mr Haniyeh and Dr Mustafa visited the homes of Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, a senior Hamas leader who once promised he would “kill Jews everywhere,” and Sheikh Said Seyam, who commanded Hamas’s Executive Force, a militia that tortured and murdered Palestinian supporters of Fatah during Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2006.
Mr Corbyn has received at least two further free trips, worth £2,450, from the Palestinian Return Centre and its subsidiary the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, based at the PRC office in Crown House, Wembley. The PRC is said by the Israeli government to be “Hamas’s organisational branch in Europe” whose members are “senior Hamas leaders who promote the movement’s agenda in Europe.”
The PRC denies this. However, it takes a strongly pro-Hamas position and has regularly hosted Hamas leaders, including Mr Haniyeh, at its annual conferences.
The Telegraph has obtained evidence from security sources showing that at least one senior PRC leader in Europe has recruited individuals to Hamas. The PRC’s current head of media in the UK, Sameh Habeeb, founded and edited a virulently anti-Semitic website, Palestine Telegraph, which published a video by the former head of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke and numerous conspiracy theories about Jewish control of the world.
Next month, Mr Corbyn is due to speak at a conference organised by Middle East Monitor (MEMO), another group based at Crown House with strong sympathies for Hamas. MEMO’s director, Daud Abdullah, is a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked British Muslim Initiative, set up and run by the Brotherhood activist Anas al-Tikriti and two senior figures in Hamas.
MEMO’s “senior editor”, Ibrahim Hewitt, an extremist who believes that adulterers should be stoned to death, is chairman of Interpal, the Hamas-linked charity. MEMO has organised several meetings featuring Hamas leaders and terrorist sympathisers; its website also repeatedly peddles conspiracy theories about Jews in articles such as “How money from Israeli donors controls Westminster.”
Mr Corbyn and MEMO co-sponsored the visit to Britain and to Parliament of an Israel-based anti-Semitic extremist, Sheikh Raed Saleh, found by a British court to have spread the classic “blood libel” against Jews, the claim that they use the blood of gentile children to make their bread. Mr Saleh, who also describes Jews as “monkeys” and “bacteria,” claims that 9/11 was a Jewish plot and that the Jews employed at the World Trade Center were warned not to come into work that day.
But he was strongly defended by Mr Corbyn, who congratulated him on defeating Government moves to exclude him from Britain, called him “a very honoured citizen who represents his people extremely well” and said he “looked forward to giving you tea on the [House of Commons]terrace.”
Mr Corbyn has met the leadership of Hamas, including Mr Haniyeh, several times, but they are not the only terror group he has had dealings with. He has also praised, and spoken on platforms with, representatives of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, and once shared a platform with the Black September hijacker, Leila Khaled. In November 2012, Mr Corbyn hosted a meeting in Parliament with Mousa Abu Maria, a member of the banned terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Mr Abu Maria claimed at the time that he was no longer involved in the group, but was photographed as recently as May of that year holding a poster of support for PIJ terrorists.
The same year, Mr Corbyn also agreed to speak alongside two of Britain’s leading domestic bigots, Abdurraheem Green and Wasim Kempson, at a conference held at Arsenal FC’s Emirates stadium. The club barred Mr Green from its premises at the last minute after learning that he advocates a husband’s right to beat his wife.
Green has also stated that “whoever claims that the Jew and the Christian are our brethren in faith has without doubt made a statement of clear kufr [disbelief]” and quotes a saying of the Prophet that “if you find a Jew or Christian walking down the street, push them to the side.”
Mr Corbyn’s visit to Iran, in January last year, was partly financed by Ardeshir Naghshineh, a British-based Iranian property entrepeneur who once owned Centre Point but lost most of his fortune after many of his businesses were placed into administration with massive debts to Lloyds Bank. He still has substantial wealth, but is described by the chief executive of his Targetfollow Group, Corin Thoday, as someone who is “very keen to keep [his sources of finance] confidential.”
For all Mr Corbyn’s strictures against the West’s past commercial exploitation of Iran, his patron, Mr Naghshineh, is at the heart of attempts by Western oil and resource companies to re-enter the Iranian market.
Also on the trip paid for by Mr Naghshineh were Jack Straw, the former Foreign Secretary, now consultant to ED&F Man, one of the world’s biggest commodities traders, and Lord Lamont, the former Chancellor, then a consultant to Targetfollow and to the British-Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi, long a key Middle East intermediary for the oil industry. Mr Corbyn has no such commercial ties, but it must be earnestly hoped that he was not being used as left-wing cover in an operation to reclaim Iran for global capitalism.
Believes that spending cuts should be slowed down. The uncompromising left-winger is strongly opposed to privatisation, academy schools, the increase in tuition fees and the Trident nuclear deterrent. He was also opposed to the UK’s involvement in the Iraq War.
- Diane Abbott
- Frank Field
- John McDonnell
- Dennis Skinner
Tuesday, Mr Corbyn will address the Labour Friends of Israel. It will be an interesting meeting. Sources close to him admit that he “needs to use Monday’s hustings to make clear that he is not supporting an anti-Semitic group. He is willing to talk to everyone in the Middle East but he is seen as anti-Jewish by some activists in the Israeli lobby. He needs to clarify that on Monday.”
A spokesman for the Corbyn campaign said: “Peace will not be achieved in the Middle East without dialogue. Entering into dialogue necessarily entails speaking with groups whose positions Jeremy does not support.
“Jeremy has spoken to groups reflecting the full range of political opinion in both Israel and Palestine. This not does entail support for the organisations with whom he has spoken in the interests of bringing an end to the humanitarian disaster and suffering caused by the conflict.”
Is Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite? No, but his position strongly resembles that of those 1980s far-Right Tory MPs, such as John Carlisle and Harvey Proctor, who strongly sympathised with apartheid and repatriating black people without directly being racists. They were figures on the fringe of their party, largely ignored by the people in charge – as was Corbyn, until this month.
Now, however, even if he doesn’t win, it seems clear that he will command a huge block of support, with potentially significant influence on the direction that Labour takes. Not for nothing did one extremist website describe Mr Corbyn last week as “the Labour leader British Muslims have been waiting for.”