Jeremy Corbyn ‘must be expelled from Labour’ for appearing on extremist TV channel say campaigners

The former party leader gave an interview to interview to Lebanese station Al-Mayadeen, which has frequently employed antisemitic rhetoric in its opinion and analysis content


Antisemitism campaigners have called on Labour to expel Jeremy Corbyn after he appeared on a TV channel that has given a platform to Hezbollah and published Holocaust denial material.

In this week’s interview on Al-Mayadeen, Labour’s former leader claimed he had been opposed by “powerful forces” and also elements within his party “working against us” in election campaigns.

But the very fact of his agreeing to appear on the Lebanese station has drawn the condemnation of campaigners who point to its toxic history.

Launched in 2012, the news outlet has frequently employed antisemitic rhetoric in its opinion and analysis content, as well as in its reporting, according to CAMERA Arabic, a media watchdog organisation that monitors Arabic language news. An article published on Al-Mayadeen’s website refers to “Zionist lies about the Nazi Holocaust”, asking: “Why did Zionism spread the story of the ‘Holocaust’? And what did accomplish by this?”

Among other articles on its website is one entitled in Arabic “The Holocaust — that great deception”. Others are headlined: “Why do the Jews rejoice at the burning of Notre Dame in Paris?”, “Jews and Freemasons in the Arabs’ revolutions”, and “The Jews of ‘Israel’ — this is why their end is certain”.

Al-Mayadeen broadcast a three-hour interview with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah last month to mark the 40th anniversary of the banned terrorist group.

Al-Mayadeen’s Director, Ghassan Ben Jeddou, has spoken of his “friendship” with Nasrallah.
Mr Corbyn spoke of having “friends from Hezbollah” at a meeting in Parliament in 2009, later saying he regretted doing so.

On Al-Mayadeen, Mr Corbyn said “I believe that the way I was dealt with in the Labour Party, and the allegations made against me were shameful,” adding that “powerful forces” had opposed him “because I was proposing a different approach in dealing with foreign relations and international policies”.

He also claimed to have “faced clear threats from some military figures” when he was elected leader: “First, there were statements against me from Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump, and a group of other personalities, and it showed me how strong the forces opposed to me were.”

Discussing his failure at the general elections, Mr Corbyn said: “It turned out later that some of the forces that joined us were working against us from within the campaigns.”

Mr Corbyn is no longer sitting as a Labour MP after losing the whip for failing to accept the findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on antisemitism in the party. But he is a full member of the party itself, having previously been suspended but then reinstated.

Now critics are calling for him to be expelled from Labour after his appearance on Al-Mayadeen.

Speaking to the JC, Lord Austin who was MP for Dudley North from 2005 until he stepped down in 2019 in protest at antisemitism within the Labour Party, said it was “unbelievable to hear Jeremy Corbyn repeating his conspiracy theories about powerful forces working against him within the Labour Party. Who could he be referring to? Just who is he blaming?”

Lord Austin questioned whether Mr Corbyn was rejecting the October 2020 findings of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission which, after an investigation into antisemitism, found the Labour Party responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination during the period of Mr Corbyn’s leadership. “Is he instead blaming internal factions in the party for his downfall?” he asked.

“These sorts of dog-whistle references made on these sorts of TV channels show that he hasn’t changed at all. It’s time the Labour Party really did just boot him out properly — not just from the PLP [Parliamentary Labour Party], but altogether.”

Alex Hearn, Director of Labour Against Antisemitism, told the JC Corbyn’s comments on Al-Mayadeen “show a complete lack of remorse for his actions which resulted in a racist and unelectable Labour Party. They are also arguably an antisemitic dog-whistle.

It is Mr Corbyn’s actions which are shameful, not the criticism of his actions, and this has long been the case. It is long past time for him to be expelled from the Labour Party and we urge the organisation to do so.”

A spokesperson for Mr Corbyn said that “during the interview, he referenced the forces both inside and outside of the Labour Party actively working against his leadership, both of which are widely evidenced in the Forde Report”.

Published last month, the Forde Report was commissioned by current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to investigate allegations of bullying, racism and sexism within the Labour Party after an unredacted internal report on the party’s handling of antisemitism claims was leaked in April 2020.

A spokesman for the Labour Party said: “This interview is a further example of Jeremy Corbyn choosing to put himself in conflict with Labour Party policy. Keir Starmer has made it clear what he expects from Labour MPs and Jeremy Corbyn continues to act in a way that is incompatible with that.”

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