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The Telegraph
The Telegraph
18 Nov 2023


Corbyn and McDonnell pictured with pro-Hamas activist

John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn were pictured marching alongside a pro-Hamas activist at the Palestine protest on Armistice Day.

The former shadow chancellor and ex-Labour leader could be seen at the front of the National March for Palestine alongside Adnan Hmidan, a journalist who works for the London-based TV channel al-Hiwar.

Mr McDonnell stood directly to the left of Mr Hmidan as they carried a banner at the front of the procession, while another demonstrator stood between Mr Hmidan and Mr Corbyn.

A social media post by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, one of the organisers of the weekly demonstrations against Israel’s military response to the October 7 Hamas terror attacks, read: “Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell join the front of our march for a #CeasefireNow.”

Mr Hmidan has sought to justify a number of attacks by Hamas militants on Jews on his Twitter profile, where he writes mostly in Arabic.

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell at the march, with Adnan Hmidan also pictured
Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell at the march, with Adnan Hmidan also pictured Credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP

Following the 2014 Jerusalem synagogue attack, which saw four worshippers and a policeman killed by two Palestinian men, he wrote: “The killing (sic) of the Jewish synagogue is a natural reaction to an enemy who did not respect the sanctity of a mosque or a home, and never shied away from killing, suffocating, burning and besieging the Palestinians.”

In the wake of the October 7 attacks in which more than 1,200 Israeli Jews were murdered, he posted: “What is happening is the normal situation, and the usurping invaders are the aggressors first and foremost. If there had been no occupation, there would have been no resistance.

“However, recently, the Zionists’ provocations have increased in an unprecedented manner: from the raids on Al-Aqsa to the stripping of a number of women in Hebron to the raids in the West Bank, and the list goes on.”

Mr Hmidan had deactivated his Twitter account as of Friday afternoon but The Telegraph obtained screenshots of the remarks in question prior to its deletion.

 

Facebook account

A post on his public Facebook account which dates from March 2018 includes the caption “I love this man” below an image of Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas.

Mr Hmidan was a member of Labour as recently as 2021, when he instructed lawyers to write to the party questioning its recruitment of a former Israeli army officer in a campaign role.

He said in March 2021 he was “very concerned” about the appointment and suggested it would involve “monitoring” the social media accounts of Labour members who were British Palestinian or supported Palestine.

Last Wednesday, Mr McDonnell was among more than 50 Labour backbenchers to defy Sir Keir Starmer by voting for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Eight of Sir Keir’s shadow ministers either resigned or were sacked as they broke with the party line.

TalkTV interview

Mr Corbyn, who has sat as an independent MP since his suspension by Sir Keir in October 2020, also voted in favour of a ceasefire.

In an interview with TalkTV’s Piers Morgan Uncensored, he refused to describe Hamas as terrorists on at least 15 occasions. Hamas’s military wing has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the British government since 2001.

Mr McDonnell, Mr Corbyn, Mr Hmidan and the Labour Party were contacted for comment.

A source close to Mr Corbyn said: “Jeremy is not responsible for the attendance nor the words of an individual that happens to be pictured nearby. Jeremy has repeatedly condemned the horrific terror attack by Hamas on October 7, as well as the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza in response, and continues to call for an immediate ceasefire to stop any further loss of life.”