Jeremy Corbyn, the embattled leader of the opposition UK Labour Party, has been accused of accepting campaign funds from a group with links to the Hamas terrorist organisation. Friends of Al-Aqsa are alleged to have given a cheque for £10,000 to Mr. Corbyn, an outspoken critic of Israel, when he was bidding to become Labour leader in 2015. A report in the Observer newspaper on Sunday made the claim, adding that the money came from the proceeds of a fundraising dinner held for Mr. Corbyn’s election.
A spokesman for the Labour leader said the amount had not been declared because the cheque was made out to the wrong person.
Any donation above £7,500 should be declared to the Electoral Commission.
According to the Observer, Friends of Al-Aqsa was founded by Ismail Patel in 1997 and has been caught up in a series of controversies since. In 2009 Patel told a rally: “Hamas is no terrorist organisation. The reason they hate Hamas is because they refuse to be subjugated, occupied by the Israeli state, and we salute Hamas for standing up to Israel.”Patel was also a spokesman for the British Muslim Initiative, an organisation that the Daily Telegraph has claimed has links to Hamas.
Only one donation from the Friends of Al-Asqa’s fundraising dinner has been declared. Ibrahim Hamami, who the Telegraph has claimed is an opponent of the Oslo peace accords, and wrote in support of a wave of stabbings of Jews in Israel in 2015, gave £2,000 to Corbyn, the register of MPs’ interests shows.
Approached at the time by the Telegraph, he said: “I am not answering your questions. Get lost.”
The revelation comes as the Labour Party continues to battle allegations that it is profoundly anti-Semitic in nature and welcomes members who espouse anti-Jewish sentiments.
In May, Breitbart Jerusalem reported Britain’s most notorious radical Islamist preacher, Anjem Choudary, provided support for then-suspended Labour MP Naz Shah’s controversial Facebook post suggesting the relocation of Israel to the United States.
Choudary also defended the British Labour Party generally from charges of anti-Semitism, saying: “I think that the term anti-Semitism has been used as a tool to attack those who criticise Israel. And I think that’s become clear over the last few days.”
He was speaking in a joint interview with Breitbart News editor Aaron Klein on the talk radio programme, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.”
As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, Shah was eventually re-admitted to the party after agreeing that comments which saw her suspended were anti-Semitic. She apologised for online posts, including one suggesting Israel should be moved to the United States.
In April the Labour Party was forced to hold an internal inquiry into allegations of anti-Semitism within its rank and file membership. The move followed a turbulent week in which two prominent members were suspended over anti-Semitic comments.