Newly exposed letters reveal that British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the past described Israel’s politicians as “criminals,” called for them to be banned from Britain and for trade sanctions to be imposed on the Jewish state.
The letters, written by Corbyn before he was elected Labour leader, were released by the UK-based Jewish News website on Wednesday following a Freedom of Information request.
He advocates “penalizing Israel” in those letters, claiming it treats Palestinians “with disdain” and adding that Israel’s “victimization of the people of East Jerusalem is an abomination”.
In one letter to then foreign secretary William Hague in February 2013, Corbyn implored Hague “at the very least” to “stop allowing Israel’s criminal politicians to come to our country freely”.
In his second of three requests, he urged Hague to “ensure the BBC portray Palestine fairly,” chastising the national broadcaster for “barely mentioning the Palestinian hunger strike!” Finally, he asked Hague to “end the siege of Gaza.”
“Had I not been working toward all three of these aims, I’d have hung my head in shame,” he stated, according to the Jewish News.
Corbyn reportedly penned the correspondence shortly after returning from Gaza, which he described as resembling “one huge and suffering refugee camp,” adding, “Without UNWRA as well as the illegal tunnel trade that has evolved out of desperation, no one would survive.”
On the subject of banning Israeli politicians, he wrote, according to the Jewish News, “I cannot help wondering how long successive governments are going to stand by pretending that an occupying power of so many years should be treated in the same way as the people whose land is not only occupied, but routinely confiscated.”
Elsewhere in the letter, he described the “unjustness” of Israel’s controversial administrative detention system, the “medical negligence” of Palestinian prisoners and the “death in custody after the alleged interrogation of Arafat Jarafat”.
In another letter sent to Hague in February 2012, Corbyn says, “Israel’s current actions and victimization of the people of East Jerusalem is an abomination that is totally illegal. Surely the only logical way forward here is to penalize Israel via the most obvious method… There is clearly no time to lose to take action via the EU-Israel Association Trade Agreement.”
The Jewish News noted that the call for Britain to “penalize” Israel is the clearest sign yet that Corbyn supports the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
In another letter to Hague, dated March 2011, Corbyn condemned the “lack of balance” in a statement from then Middle East minister Alistair Burt, regarding an escalation in violence.
The letters are sure to add to the already existing tensions between British Jews and Corbyn, who has come under fire in the past for calling Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends".
Recently, Corbyn outright refused to condemn those two terrorist organizations despite being urged to do so by local Jewish groups.
In addition to Corbyn, Labour has been under fire for anti-Semitic comments by its members. The party has been forced to suspend dozens of members over anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments.
In fact, sources in the party revealed that Labour has secretly suspended 50 of its members over anti-Semitic and racist comments in recent months.