Jeremy Corbyn was facing new questions this week over another infamous visit in which he met Hamas members in Jerusalem in 2010, but failed to declare the trip in the parliamentary register of interests.
The Labour leader visited Israel in November 2010 with fellow Labour MP Andy Slaughter and then Guardian columnist Seamus Milne as part of a delegation organised by Middle East Monitor (MEMO). Milne is now Corbyn’s communications director.
According to reports in Israeli outlet i24NEWS, a write-up of the trip was deleted from the MEMO website but retrieved and published this week by journalist Eylon Levy, alongside suggestions that Corbyn should have declared the trip in Parliament’s Register of Members’ Financial Interests, as Slaughter did.
Rules at the time required Members of Parliament to declare gifts above £660.
Among the Hamas members Corbyn met on the visit were three Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members who they met in the Red Cross compound in Jerusalem, after the men had been handed deportation notices.
The delegation also met Mahmoud al Ramahi, Muna Saleem Mansour, Naser Abd El-Jawad, Omar Abdel-Razeq, and Aziz Dweik in Ramallah, and had dinner with Dr Mustafa Barghouthi, a prime mover behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The UK government proscribes Hamas Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades, which is the armed wing of Hamas. It is not clear whether any of those Corbyn met on his trip were members of the Islamist group’s armed wing.
Corbyn later reported on his experiences in the Morning Star, writing: “It is time to bring those Israelis who committed crimes against humanity to account and to end the EU Israel Trade Agreement while the occupation and settlement policy continues.”
Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, said:”Hamas is a virulently antisemitic group which seeks Israel’s destruction and is responsible for multiple terrorist attacks. Jeremy Corbyn was not on a peace mission, he was attending a conference which gave a platform to individuals who have the blood of hundreds of Israelis on their hands. He should apologise to the families of Hamas’ victims immediately.”