Jeremy Corbyn may be gone, but Hamas still has friends inside Labour10/09/2023
BRENDAN O’NEILL: Jeremy Corbyn may be gone, but the Hamas terror group still has many friends inside Labour
As Labour bigwigs burble from the platform at this week’s conference in Liverpool, I want you to remember this: Just three years ago, this party was led by a man who once called Hamas his ‘friends’.
The gravity of this cannot be understated. In 2009 Jeremy Corbyn cosied up to Hamas, a known Islamic terrorist group. The group has now killed more than 900 Israelis since its terrible attack started on Saturday.
Corbyn is on the record as saying Hamas, who have now massacred festival-goers, raped young women, kidnapped grandmothers and spat on the dead bodies of Jews over recent days, were ‘dedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people and bringing about long-term peace and social justice in the whole region’.
Of course, Labour’s official line is that ‘the Corbyn era is over’. It is true that, under Keir Starmer, Labour has ostensibly distanced itself from its ex-leader. He was suspended from the party at the end of 2020 after being found ultimately responsible for Labour’s discrimination against Jewish members.
But this week’s conference is packed with people who cheered Corbyn on, despite being well aware he had used the word ‘friends’ to describe a terrorist group whose founding charter committed it to a ‘struggle against the Jews’.
It is true that, under Keir Starmer, Labour has ostensibly distanced itself from Corbyn, but this week’s conference is packed with people who cheered him on despite being well aware he had used the word ‘friends’ to describe Hamas, writes BRENDAN O’NEIL
Starmer himself was happy to serve as Corbyn’s shadow Brexit secretary. In fact, he campaigned vigorously for Labour to win the 2019 election. As Dominic Lawson wrote in these pages yesterday: imagine if his campaigning had worked. Corbyn would be running Britain while Hamas was rounding up Israelis and murdering them.
Emily Thornberry, Angela Eagle and Angela Rayner will all be swanning around Liverpool this week doing their usual moral preening. All will conveniently forget to mention, I’m sure, that they worked and campaigned for Corbyn.
Then there’s Mark Drakeford, Labour’s First Minister in Wales and Corbyn’s noisiest Welsh supporter, who took two full days to condemn Hamas’s slaughter of Israelis. Finally Drakeford yesterday brought himself to describe Hamas’s actions as ‘appalling’.
Though Corbyn is gone, I’m not convinced Labour has changed all that much. Every trade union on Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) is affiliated to the repugnant Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), a group that was on the streets calling for boycotts against Israel on the very day Israel was being invaded by murderous Islamists.
Keir Starmer is under mounting pressure to remove the whip from Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse, Apsana Begum, was pictured at a PSC stand at the party’s conference
Worse still, that same day, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse, Apsana Begum, was pictured at a PSC stand at the party’s conference. It was the same stand that drew Labour’s shadow justice minister Afzal Khan, where he posed for a photo in front of a Palestinian flag saying ‘end apartheid now’. He apologised for showing PSC his support after they posted the photo online.
So far, Keir Starmer has yet to remove the whip from Khan or Begum and is under mounting pressure to do so.
Meanwhile, skulking around the sidelines of Labour’s conference will be left-wing publications like Novara Media, whose commissioning editor Rivkah Brown called news of the terrorist incursions ‘a day of celebration’.
So, while Corbyn might be long gone, the party’s anti-Semitic history casts a dark shadow over this conference. And I fear that sympathy for Israel-hating terrorists still lurks close to the surface.
Brendan O’Neill is chief political writer at Spiked
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