Labour candidate for Boris Johnson's seat refused to rule out 'armed conflict' as alternative to BDS

Mr Milani, who was selected to fight Mr Johnson's Uxbridge seat, made the comments on Iran's Press TV channel in 2015


A Labour Parliamentary candidate who previously apologised for using antisemitic language has been found to have appeared on Press TV in 2015, where he suggested the BDS movement could be used in tandem with "armed conflict" against Israel.

Ali Milani, 24, who was selected earlier this year to contest Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge seat, appeared on the controversial channel to discuss the boycott movement. Mr Milani, who was formerly the president of the students' union at Brunel University, was introduced as having “successfully led the BDS campaign” at the institution.

"The Golem" Twitter account revealed that, when asked whether or not boycotts of Israel are an alternative to "armed struggle", he replied that “there’s no reason why we need to frame the argument as binary.

"It doesn’t have to be either a non-violent economic resistance or an armed resistance. People will see this differently.

“I’m not a Palestinian, so I don’t see it as my right to frame other people’s resistance – I don’t live under occupation, I don’t live under apartheid.”

When asked to comment, Mr Milani told the JC: “In this 2015 interview, I made it clear that BDS was a peaceful method for people in the UK to advance an end to human rights violations.

"My message was specific to what non-violent forms of activism we could engage in here in the UK to further peace, rather than in the region itself. I support a peaceful resolution to the conflict and reject any attempt to solve it through violence.”

The Press TV segment, which aired when Mr Milani was 20, was presented by Press TV anchor Roshan Salih, who last year helped pressure a North London mosque into cancelling an exhibition on Albanian Muslims' efforts to save Jews from the Nazis, because of the exhibit's links to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial.

Also on the show was Tapash Abu Shaim, introduced by Mr Salih as the executive director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. As revealed in 2017, Mr Shaim had shared material on social media claiming that Israel was behind the Charlie Hebdo killings, ISIS and 9/11.

On the show, Mr Milani also described how “what you’ll find when you’re talking about Palestine – not just BDS but Palestine as an issue as a whole – the lobbyists come out very quickly, the other side is a lot better funded than we are.”

When asked by Mr Salih whether it was a problem “that some BDS supporters recognise Israel as a state”, Mr Milani answered “no, not at all”, adding that “we’re going to have disagreements. It’s a political discussion, people will have political differences.”

In a recent interview, Mr Milani said his views on Israel's right to exist had changed, saying his past comments had come from “anger at the injustice that was being faced towards a people and not understanding the political nuance of what was going on there”.

He described how back then he “didn’t have a huge amount of engagement with Jewish colleagues who could explain to me the significance of the comments, which I’m very, very lucky to have now.”

He also said he recently travelled to Auschwitz Birkenau, saying: “Every kid in the country should go on that trip.”

Mr Milani has previously apologised for comments he made between 2011 and 2013 on social media.

As part of an exchange on Twitter in 2012, he wrote “Nah u won’t mate it will cost you a pound #jew”

He also wrote that “Israel has no right to exist” and “Israel is a land built on ethnic cleansing and colonialism. Oppression is something your people should know about”.

On another occasion, he wrote: “So lecturer asks the class today ‘nobody in this room would ever want to go to war right?’ My hand rises. ‘Who?’ Me: ‘Israel’.”

He also responded to a tweet by Piers Morgan, former editor of News of the World and the Daily Mirror, by calling him “a Zionist and corperate [sic] jackass”. Mr Morgan’s original tweet had not been on the subject of Israel or Jews.

Two weeks ago, Mr Milani said he had “profusely and unreservedly apologised on every public platform and interview I have ever done for the comments made in my teens.

"I have also tried to be proactive in pushing for education on this issue - specifically in schools and colleges like mine.”

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