Jeremy Corbyn calls for inquiry on 'pro-Israel lobby'

By Martin Bright, April 19, 2012
Jeremy Corbyn MP

Jeremy Corbyn MP

The left-wing Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn has backed calls for an inquiry into the influence of "pro-Israel lobbying groups" on government policy. The move follows the successful appeal of Raed Salah, a prominent leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, against Home Office moves to deport him.

Despite finding in his favour, the Appeal Court judges decided that Mr Salah had invoked the blood libel in comments made in Jerusalem in 2007 about Jews using the blood of children to bake bread. Mr Salah has also suggested that Jews were tipped off about the Twin Towers attack and has called homosexuality "a great crime".

However, the court was also critical of the haste with which Home Secretary Theresa May moved against Mr Salah following evidence from the Community Security Trust. (Mr Salah was banned from the UK but gained entry after an error by border officials).

Mr Salah's lawyer Tayyab Ali told a press conference that there should be an independent inquiry into "the mechanism that was used to provide information to government departments, the Prime Minister himself, and his relationship to pro-Israel lobbying groups." He singled out Bicom chairman Poju Zabludowicz, "who I understood supported the Conservative Party quite strongly with financial donations, and is also, I think, a trustee of the Board of Deputies and the Community Security Trust".

Mr Corbyn added: " I think a public inquiry is the best course of action to take. Normally one would have said that the appropriate Select Committee in Parliament would undertake this inquiry, but I think the issues go far wider than parliamentary procedure, they go to the heart of what's going on in the Home Office and the way the government makes decisions, so I strongly support that and I will be writing to the Home Secretary accordingly."

A Labour Party spokesperson said: "These are absolutely not the views of the Labour Party."

Last updated: 4:46pm, April 19 2012