McDonnell MP welcomes to Parliament activist who said ‘I love Hamas founder’

Press conference at Westminster held to rebuff criticism of Gaza protests


Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell at the event in Parliament with Hamas-sympathiser Adnan Hmidan to his right. To his left are Ruth Ehrlich, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Liberty, and Chris Nineham of Stop the War Coalition

Jeremy Corbyn ally John McDonnell MP has welcomed to Westminster an activist who professed his “love” for the founder of Hamas, the JC can reveal.

The hard-left MP was pictured alongside Adnan Hmidan – who has a history of supporting extremists including “blood libel cleric” Raed Salah – for a press conference organised to rebuff criticism of the anti-Israel marches that have been bringing cities across the UK to a standstill.

Also present was Ben Jamal, leader of Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the main organiser of nationwide protests, which have regularly featured “intifada” chants and vocal support for Yemeni terrorists.

The West Midlands branch of the PSC this week withdrew a plan to host notorious plane hijacker Leila Khaled for a talk at a fundraising event tabled to take place this Friday.

The 28 February press conference with McDonnell came just five days after the slogan “from the river to the sea” was projected on to the Houses of Parliament during a PSC-organised rally.

During the demonstration Jamal had told protesters he wanted “Parliament to have to lock its doors” as concern was growing inside Westminster about the safety of MPs.

The groups represented at the press conference claimed that Islamophobic “hysteria” among some politicians had provoked “discriminatory” policing of the marches.

Ruth Ehrlich, Head of Policy and Campaigns at human rights group Liberty, and Chris Nineham of the hard-left Stop the War Coalition also spoke at the meeting.

During the meeting, Nineham celebrated “the biggest cycle of protests I think there has been”.

Another speaker said: “The establishment is clearly worried about the strength of the opposition of its position of Israel’s genocide.”

Speaking in the Commons on 22 February, Tory MP Andrew Percy warned that Islamists and their fellow anti-Israel travellers were threatening democracy. “For months I’ve been standing up here talking about the people on our streets demanding ‘death to Jews’, demanding jihad, demanding intifadas as the police stand by and allow that to happen,” Percy said.

“Last night, a genocidal call of ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ was projected onto this building.

"That message says no Jew is welcome in the state of Israel or in that land.

"This is going to continue happening because we’re not dealing with it.”

The PSC has a long history of radicalism and links with Hamas.

In 2012 its then-chair Hugh Lanning, a former civil service union leader, was photographed in Gaza meeting the then Hamas prime minister, now its politburo chief, Ismail Haniyeh, and its hardline defence minister Mahmoud al-Zahar.

In a statement, West Midlands PSC said: “PSC has repeatedly stated our firm belief that international law is the framework within which we must judge any use of force.

"On that basis the branch has agreed to withdraw its sponsorship of the event.”

 McDonnell was approached for comment.

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