Jeremy Corbyn has appointed the former chair of Stop the War to head his campaign team in the final few weeks of the election.
Andrew Murray, who was a member of the Communist Party for four decades but quit last year to join Mr Corbyn’s Labour, chaired Stop The War from 2001 to 2011, and then again from 2015-2016.
Stop the War has repeatedly attacked Israel, with numerous speakers at its events over the years denouncing the state. In 2009 one of the group’s founders, John Rees, described Hamas and Hezbollah as “resistance” groups which are “a legitimate part of [our] movement”.
In a 2012 speech Mr Murray expressed “solidarity with the heroic Palestinian people in Gaza”, saying that “Palestine stands today undefeated and unbowed despite the bloody aggression by one of the greatest military powers on earth”, a reference to Israel.
“We have a message for the Israeli embassy, the Israeli government… every time you kill a Palestinian child, you are digging your own graves”. Mr Murray made no reference to the Israeli children killed by Palestinians, or to the genocidal policies of Hamas, or to the thousands of rockets Hamas was firing into Israeli territory at the time.
He also called for “the [UK] trade to drop the illusion that the Histadrut [the Israeli trade union movement] is a proper trade union, and break the links with the Israeli trade union movement”.
In the last two years, Stop the War has deleted a number of articles from its website, including one titled “Time to go to war with Israel as the only path to peace in the Middle East” by Richard Falk, a former UN special envoy who has supported 9/11 conspiracy theories and praised the work of notorious antisemite Gilad Atzmon.
Another deleted piece, by Alison Weir, the founder of an antisemitic website called If Americans Knew, claimed that while some Israeli Olympians murdered in Munich in 1972 were “accidentally killed” by their Palestinian captors, German Special Forces killed the rest during an unnecessary rescue attempt, and that the Palestinians had no plans to kill the athletes. She also wrote that the athletes’ deaths should be placed in the “context” of Israel’s “ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians”.
A Labour party source told the Huffington Post that “Corbyn’s Labour has gone full Trump. Andrew Murray is the hard-left’s Steve Bannon [Mr Trump’s controversial White House adviser]”.
A senior LFI source said:
“It is extremely depressing that Jeremy Corbyn thinks it is appropriate to appoint someone with such offensive and extreme views. Mr Murray’s vitriolic anti-Israel opinions should have no place in the Labour Party."
On Monday, a spokesperson for Mr Corbyn's office said that "Andrew Murray has been seconded by UNITE [the trade union] to support, not head up, the campaign."