The British Labour Party’s controversial leader, Jeremy Corbyn, defended “salient points” made in an infamous speech by former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for the annihilation of the State of Israel.
In a 2005 firebrand address to students in Tehran, Ahmadinejad praised “the new wave [of attacks] in Palestine…[which] will wipe this stigma [Israel] from the face of the Islamic world.”
The then-president threatened that those who acknowledged Israel’s existence “will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury.”
Writing for the far-left Morning Star shortly after, Corbyn charged that the content of the speech had been “overlooked by the sensationalist headlines.”
Although he acknowledged that the speech “clearly departs from the two-state solution that…would be illegal under the UN charter,” Corbyn said Ahmadinejad’s remarks “pointed out what Israel is doing to Palestine.”
He went on to condemn Israel for its “apartheid wall” and “systematic depopulation of Palestinians from Jerusalem.” Then a backbench MP, Corbyn concluded that, “The opportunity provided by Ahmadinejad’s speech should be used to build dialogue with and within Iran, and…on the issue of Palestine.”
The European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning Ahmadinejad’s speech a few days later.
The Labour leader has long-standing ties to the regime in Tehran. In 2009 and 2012, Corbyn received £20,000 ($26,285) for a series of appearances on Press TV, the state-controlled propaganda channel of the Iranian regime.
It was on Press TV that Corbyn famously said it was a “tragedy” that the United States had killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Britain revoked the channel’s license in 2012, following a ruling by the country’s communications regulator that editorial decisions were being made by the mullah regime in Tehran.
In 2014, not long before he took on the Labour leadership, Corbyn spoke at an event in London to mark the 25th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. In his speech, he praised the “tolerance and acceptance of other faiths, traditions and ethnic groupings in Iran.”
[Photo: YouTube/RevolutionBahrainMC / Wikimedia Commons]