Former British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday accused Israel of committing “war crimes” in the Gaza Strip, the Jewish News reported.
Corbyn made the comments during a rally in central London by thousands of pro-Palestinian Arab supporters, while failing to mention Hamas’ responsibility for the brutal attack on Israel last week.
Protesters arrived for the demonstration holding banners including one stating “Unconditional Support Palestinian Resistance Against The Zionist Entity”, according to the Jewish News.
There were regular chants of “From The River To The Sea” as the protest set off from outside the BBC’s headquarters in the capital, while others raised placards branding Israel a “racist” and an “apartheid state”.
Thousands of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags were waved as speakers mocked the suggestion made by home secretary Suella Braverman last week that waving the flag could be a criminal offense, according to the Jewish News.
In his speech, delivered from a stage set up by protest organizers in Whitehall, Corbyn condemned the “murder and killings” including the “young people who died in the Negev desert” and “the young people killed by Israeli forces in Gaza at the moment”, but he once again failed to explicitly single out Hamas for condemnation over last weekend’s terrorist massacre.
“It is right to condemn the killings that have happened, it is right to condemn the targeting of civilians, which is of course a war crime within international law,” said Corbyn, before adding, “It is also right to condemn the occupation of Palestine by Israeli military forces.”
Accepting that “terrible things” had taken place, Corbyn added, “There are many who say that nobody should be here today, because they’ll be condoning terrible things.”
“None of us are here to condone killing, none of us are here to condone occupation, none of us are here to allow this assault on the people of Gaza and the people of the West Bank,” he stated.
Corbyn has a lengthy history of controversial remarks. When he served as Labour leader, he stirred up controversy by calling Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends". He initially refused to apologize for those comments but later walked them back.
British Jews also voiced deep concern over his disturbing links to a wide range of extremists, spanning far-right Holocaust deniers, an antisemitic Christian minister and Islamist terrorist groups.
Corbyn was suspended from Labour following the publication of a report compiled by the Equality and Human Rights Commission which found numerous cases where the party leadership under Corbyn underplayed, belittled or ignored complaints by Jewish members, and sometimes actively interfered to support political allies.
He was reinstated to Labour after appearing to apologize for belittling the report, but his successor as Labour leader, Keir Starmer, said he would deny Corbyn the party whip even after he was reinstated as a party member.
In November of 2022, Corbyn was permanently banned from running as a candidate for the Labour party.