“The context overlooked by the sensationalist headlines was that his speech also pointed out what Israel is doing to Palestine,” said Corbyn.
By Benjamin Kerstein, The Algemeiner
It has been revealed that, a decade and a half ago, Jeremy Corbyn, now the controversial far-left leader of the U.K. Labour party, defended a speech by then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in which he called for Israel’s annihilation.
According to the London-based Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, which cited the work of investigative journalist Iggy Ostanin, the Ahmadinejad speech took place in 2005 at an event titled, “The world without Zionism.” In the speech, Ahmadinejad vowed to “wipe Israel off the map.”
Such a statement was not unusual, as Ahmadinejad frequently made genocidal threats against Israel during his eight-year presidency, which ended in 2013.
The speech was widely condemned around the world, including by then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who said, “It is totally abhorrent for the president of Iran to call for Israel to be wiped from the map of the world.”
In an article for the communist newspaper Morning Star, however, Corbyn defended the Iranian leader.
“The opportunity provided by Ahmadinejad’s speech should be used to build dialogue with and within Iran and, of course, on the issue of Palestine,” he wrote.
“The context overlooked by the sensationalist headlines was that his speech also pointed out what Israel is doing to Palestine,” he added.
Corbyn then struck out at Israel, saying, “All the righteous indignation never mentioned a few salient points. Israel has illegal and undeclared nuclear weapons, has not signed the non-proliferation treaty and continues to develop them.”
Corbyn appeared often on Iran’s state-run Press TV channel and was apparently paid tens of thousands of dollars to do so.
Since he was elected Labour leader in 2015, the party has been wracked with a series of anti-Semitism scandals, several of them touching Corbyn himself. Polls show the overwhelming majority of British Jews consider him to be anti-Semitic.