UK Labour leader adds to list of anti-Israel 'friends'

Relationship with pro-Hamas chairman of London mosque comes to light at a time when Jeremy Corbyn's party is under the spotlight for anti-Semitism.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
March 13, 2016 09:07
2 minute read.
 Jeremy Corbyn

Britain's leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn considers Mohammed Kozbar, a prominent London Muslim community leader with a history of controversial positions, a "friend," the UK's Telegraph reported on Saturday.

Kozbar has blamed UK foreign policy for the rise of ISIS, called for the destruction of Israel, participated in fundraising for Hamas-fronting charities such as Interpal, and praised extremist Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

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Al-Qaradawi, who's application for a visa to the the UK was rejected in 2008, has claimed that Hitler was sent by Allah to punish the Jews, supports suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, and has spoken out in favor of female genital mutilation among a plethora of other extremist positions.

Corbyn, who infamously called terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends," and outraged his party's pro-Israel base by neglecting to mention Israel once during a speech to the Labour Friends of Israel caucus, has reportedly met at least 15 times with Kozbar, and even called the Finsbury Park mosque chairman "legendary."

Long perceived as a figure staunchly opposed to Israel, Corbyn held his first meeting with the senior leadership of organized British Jewry in February in what appeared to be an effort to mend fences.


However, British Jews have expressed concern over anti-Semitism within the Labour party, following the resignation of the co-chairman of the Labour party’s student group at the University of Oxford, who claimed that his peers had “some kind of problem with Jews.”

In a post on Facebook, Alex Chalmers explained that his decision was made in light of the Oxford University Labour Club’s decision to endorse Israel Apartheid Week on campus, stating that “Whether it be members of the Executive throwing around the term ‘Zio’ (a term for Jews usually confined to websites run by the Ku Klux Klan) with casual abandon, senior members of the club expressing their ‘solidarity’ with Hamas and explicitly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians, or a former co-chair claiming that ‘most accusations of anti-Semitism are just the Zionists crying wolf,’ a large proportion of both OULC and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews.”

The student inquiry’s report was completed over two weeks ago and forwarded to the party, however it is yet to be published, and no students have been disciplined to date, the Jewish Chronicle wrote last week, feeding accusations that the party is reneging on its commitment to fight anti-Semitism.

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