A Palestine official had the perfect response to those claiming Corbyn ‘refused to condemn Hamas’

Paul McNamara asks Jeremy Corbyn if he will condemn Hamas Palestine
Support us and go ad-free

Palestine launched an armed attack on Israel on 7 October. It sent the UK’s corporate media into overdrive as it attempted to corral the public discourse into support for Israel. And there was one man they couldn’t help but circle like vultures to try and prise out a soundbite: Jeremy Corbyn.

Hundreds dead on both sides

Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on 7 October. It sent thousands of rockets into Israel as well as fighters by land and air. Israeli soldiers responded, battling Palestinian fighters in the streets and sending air raids into Palestine.

At the time of publishing, the Palestinian Ministry for Health said Israel had so far killed 576 people. Meanwhile, Israel said Palestinian fighters had killed at least 800 people.

World leaders were quick to back Israel, uniformly stating that the country had a ‘right’ to defend itself. The UK media was quick to follow, publishing headlines and front page stores that portrayed Israel as the victim. However, they were able to take a few minutes out of their day to return to one of their favourite pastimes: Corbyn-bashing.

Corbyn’s supposed ‘refusal’ to condemn Hamas

On 8 October, Channel 4 News published footage of its presenter Paul McNamara questioning Corbyn:

In the video, Corbyn states that “all attacks are wrong” and he is “calling for peace”. This apparently isn’t enough for McNamara, who asked Corbyn if he ‘condemns Hamas’. Corbyn repeated his stance, but McNamara asked the MP a second time if he condemned the attacks as Corbyn walked away.

McNamara’s questioning implied that Corbyn was morally wrong for not coming out in support of Israel. However, ITV News went one step further with its framing of the incident.

Sharing its own point of view on McNamara’s questioning, ITV News Politics claimed that Corbyn “refuses to say if he condemns Hamas”:

The Independent also went with similar sentiments.

Corbyn’s position against attacks by both sides should be no surprise to anyone at all. His anti-war history is a matter of record. Of course, Corbyn’s alleged support for Hamas was one of his opponents’ favourite lines of attack. And the reporting on this incident revealed that the MP still lives rent-free in the corporate media’s head. But it also highlighted a fundamental problem with its portrayal of Palestine, a problem that a Palestinian official made explicit.

Biased expectations on accountability

Husam Zomlot, Palestine’s UK ambassador, appeared on BBC News on 8 October. Host Lewis Vaughn Jones repeatedly asked Zomlot if he condemned Hamas’ actions. Despite the ambassador’s repeated explanations of the separation between the Palestinian government and Hamas, and the aggression and occupation of Israel, Vaughn Jones presses the matter.

Eventually, Jones attempted to trip Zomlot up by saying the ambassador had condemned Israel but not Palestine “for killing civilians”, and Zomlot responded:

How many times Israel have committed war crimes… live on your own cameras? Do you start by asking them to condemn themselves? Have you? You don’t… You know why I refuse to answer this question? Because I refuse the premise of it. Because at the very heart of it is misrepresentation of the whole thing. Because it’s the Palestinians that are always expected to condemn themselves.

With his answer, Zomlot very succinctly laid bare the absolute bias at the heart of the UK’s corporate media. Palestine is always expected to justify itself – even after 50 years of Israel’s violent occupation. Meanwhile, the world’s leaders and their media mouthpieces back up the Israeli state without question.

The media’s flurry around Corbyn’s so-called ‘refusal’ to condemn Hamas is just another attempt to push this pro-Israel discourse. And its framing shows that it will always consider Palestinians as secondary humans.

Featured image via ITV News Politics – screengrab

Support us and go ad-free

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Hamas killed at least three hundred innocent non-combatents at a music festival, that alone is a war crime and a crime against humanity. Saying “what about” this or that in no way justifies and attack into Israel. At no point is Hamas defending itself or Gaza. Their actions have precipitated untold misery on innocent Gaza residents, as Israel defends itself and attempts to drive out the terrorists.
      The Palestinian authority is separate from Hamas, but they can still condemn Hamas, just as I do in the strongest possible terms.

      1. And they can do so once you have condemned Israel’s occupation, its decades of killings of Palestinian civilians and a whole litany of its atrocities – in the strongest possible terms. I do not support Hamas, an organisation with many profound problems, nor do I support everything it does, but the Palestinian people have been pushed into a corner by the fascist Israeli state and its racist settlers and so-called defence forces. It is long past time, Boismalet, that you expressed your own support for the struggles for existence of the Palestinian people and your disgust with the apartheid, Zionist State of Israel.

      2. More Palestinians were murdered by Israeli soldiers during the “right of return” marches 2 miles from where this festival was held. Were the organizers of the festival deliberately rubbing the Palestinians noses in it?

        1. So by holding a festival they deserve to die? The Jews only have themselves to blame! What strong echos of Nazi Germany’s justification that the Jews deserved to be gassed as it was all their own fault.

    2. Jeremy Corbyn is the only honest MP in Whitehall. He shows massive courage to stand by his, and his thousands of supporters convictions, as he defends his correct position about Palestine while suffering dedicated attacks by Britain’s Zionist controlled media.

    3. Why do some people who call themselves left wing struggle to condemn an organisation which is openly racist,homophobic,misogynist,undemocratic and whose founding charter contains passages which could have come straight from Mein Kampf?

      1. And who is struggling to do so? Hamas was founded with the help of the apartheid State of Israel, so Israel has only itself to blame for the atrocities Hamas has committed against non-combatants. Why does Shredni vashtar struggle to condemn that fascist State which has, since its beginning in the Nakba against the Palestinian people, committed vastly worse crimes than Hamas has ever managed? The language being used by Israeli politicians in the last few days is openly Nazi. Time to declare whose side you are on. I’m with the Palestinian people in their struggle for the freedom that the Zionists took away from them.

    4. Unbelievable,.Israel has been under attack ever since it was founded,first by Arab armies which despite the odds in their favour could never overcome the Israelis.Now it is under attack by terrorists who simply want to destroy Israel and have not the slightest interest in a peaceful solution.The horrors of the last few days show what is in store for Isreal if they lose.Certainly Israel has done some terrible things just as the Allies did terrible things to the Germans in ww2 but if you want to make Nazi comparisons it is obviously Hamas who are closest to Nazis.And if Hamas wins where do the people of Israel go,?Nealy 1 million Jews fled from Arab countries to Israel after ww2.Do they have a right of return ?would any Arab country let them return?Would any Arab country treat Jews as equals to Muslims?You know the answer but are not willing to admit it.The situation in Israel and Gaza is tragic,there is wrong and right on both Palestinian and Israeli sides but Hamas are truly evil and if you cant see that I pity you.

      1. Your comments are completely at variance with reality. The State of Israel was founded by a group of Zionists that included experienced terrorists – the Irgun gang, for one: “Irgun launched a series of attacks which lasted until the founding of Israel. All told, Irgun attacks against Arab targets resulted in at least 250 Arab deaths during this period.” (Wikipedia)

        The world is seeing Israel unmasked: fascist, deeply racist, ultraviolent, riddled with anti-Palestinian hatred and aiming at the erasure of an entire people using a vast array of weaponry supplied by the USA, UK and other Western nations. As for acts of violence against defenceless people, Hamas has learned from the occupying Israelis who have been practising such acts for at least 75 years. Take the Sergeants affair of 1947:

        “…the Jewish underground group Irgun kidnapped two British Army Intelligence Corps NCOs, Sergeant Clifford Martin and Sergeant Mervyn Paice, and threatened to hang them if the death sentences passed on three Irgun militants—Avshalom Haviv, Meir Nakar, and Yaakov Weiss—were carried out. The three had been captured by the British during the Acre Prison break, tried, and convicted on charges of illegal possession of arms, and with ‘intent to kill or cause other harm to a large number of people’. When the three men were executed by hanging, the Irgun killed the two sergeants and hung their booby-trapped bodies in a eucalyptus grove near Netanya.” (Wikipedia)

    5. An obsession amongst certain sections of the far right is that of “us” being invaded and displaced by “them”. “Them” being outsiders , immigrants, pouring in, taking over.

      All nonsense in a UK context, but actually that invaded state does exist : it’s called Palestine.

      Paradoxically of course (because they never usually get beyond knee-jerk soundbites) the far right also support the invaders – the state of Israel. Or perhaps not so paradoxical….

      Israel is built on Zionist terrorism – Lehi (AKA the Stern Gang) formed in 1940 with the aim of fighting against Britain, they attempted to form alliances with both fascist Italy and nazi Germany , proposing a Jewish state based on “nationalist and totalitarian principles, and linked to the German Reich by an alliance”.

      They differentiated between “enemies of the Jewish people” (the British) and “Jew haters” (the Nazis), believing that the former needed to be defeated and the latter manipulated.

      Then there was Irgun, a Zionist paramilitary terrorist organization that operated in Mandate Palestine and then Israel between 1931 and 1948. Albert Einstein, in a letter to The New York Times in 1948, compared Irgun and its successor Herut party to “Nazi and Fascist parties” and described it as a “terrorist, right wing, chauvinist organization”.

      Irgun is best known are the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on 22 July 1946 and the Deir Yassin massacre that killed at least 107 Palestinian Arab villagers, including women and children, carried out together with Lehi on 9 April 1948.

      There were other Zionist terrorist groups – and other Zionist terrorist acts. On the formation of Israel, many of them went on to form the core of the military. Others became politicians and shaped the state.

      Israel : a colonial state imposed on a region, displacing the local population. A state based on Zionist terrorist principles, and whose founders – while their fellow Jews in Europe were en route for the Holocaust – sided with Nazi Germany. Ken Livingstone got expelled from Labour for pointing this out, and no doubt there will be those who would accuse me of anti-semitism for doing the same. But its history. You can’t change the facts, however unpalatable.

      The behaviour of modern Israel is mirrored in its Zionist terrorist pro-Nazi roots.

    6. I suggest the Hamas sympathisers read the Hamas charter,its easily available online.Lots of weird stuff there.Apparently freemasons,rotary and Lions clubs are all Zionist organisations.They were behind both world wars apparently.Zionists want to expand their territory from the Nile to the Euphrates,such is their plan in the protocols o the elders of zion.Its right up Red Stars street.Hamas say”our battle with the Jews is long and dangerous….Jihad is its methodology and death for the sake of Allah is its most coveted desire…..there is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad.The initiatives options and international conferences are a waste of time and a kind of childs play…”There are also lots of inspirational qoutes from the Quran such as”The last hour will not come until the Muslims fight against the Jews and the Muslims will kill them and the Jews would hide behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say Muslim or servant of Allah there is a Jew behind me ,come and kill him”If you are on the side of these people there is nothing more to be said.

      1. I suggest you read the comments before claiming any of us is remotely sympathetic with the nationalist, reactionary, fanatically religious, utterly anti-democratic Hamas. Perhaps you need to come clean about your support for the nationalist, reactionary, fanatically religious, utterly anti-democratic gang that is the government of the apartheid State of Israel. We, on the other hand, are happy to continue supporting the people of Palestine. And, of course, Hamas was created with the help of that State:

        “Listen to former Israeli officials such as Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, who was the Israeli military governor in Gaza in the early 1980s. Segev later told a New York Times reporter that he had helped finance the Palestinian Islamist movement as a “counterweight” to the secularists and leftists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah party, led by Yasser Arafat (who himself referred to Hamas as “a creature of Israel.”)

        “The Israeli government gave me a budget,” the retired brigadier general confessed, “and the military government gives to the mosques.”

        “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” Avner Cohen, a former Israeli religious affairs official who worked in Gaza for more than two decades, told the Wall Street Journal in 2009.”


    7. I do not condemn Israels right to defend itself. When in 47 the UN created the state of Israel Arab nations attacked it. Fortunately many Arab states now accept that Israel has a right to exist, Saudi may even officially recognise Israel. Hamas’s objective is the total destruction of the state of Israel, if that came to pass, where would the Jews go?
      Israel has the right to exist within it’s original borders, I’m not in favour of settlement on the West Bank.
      Let’s be very clear, if Jews who many believe are interchangeable with Israelis (which they are not), chose the act like Nazi’s, they have the means to wipe every Palestinian off the face of the earth.
      No single ethnic group has ever suffered more than the industrial extermination metered out by Nazi Germany on the Jews.

      1. I agree with you Boismalet and its worth pointing out that despite Red Stars fantasy about Zionists collaberating with the Nazis it was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem,the spiritual leader of Palestines Muslims,who spent ww2 in Berlin and recruited Bosnian Muslims to join the waffen SS. When it looked as if the Germans were going to break through the British lines at El Alamein the Nazis made broadcasts urging the Arabs to rise up and kill the Jews.But its pointless arguing with the hard left,they live in a fantasy world where anyone to the right of Corbyn is basically a fascist but Hamas who actually behave like fascists are freedom fighters.

        1. Hi lads, what’s the weather like in Tel Aviv right now ?

          My “fantasy” is actual history. You know its true, so why deny it ? Isn’t that rather the same as being a Holocaust denier, albeit from the other direction ?

          For all your whataboutery lads, its a fact that the Zionist terrorist groups which went on to inform much of Israel’s political and military future and its present position wanted to cosy up to the Nazis and envisioned a Jewish state based on “nationalist and totalitarian principles, and linked to the German Reich by an alliance”.

          The Reich may not have lasted the course, but Israel certainly has the nationalist and totalitarian society that they dreamed of.

      2. “Israel has the right to exist within it’s original borders” sez you. Israel, as a Jewish-supremacist, settler-colonial state, has no right to exist anywhere. Apartheid South Africa, equally, had no right to exist as a white-supremacist state. Israel/Palestine can become a democracy for all with peace; or it can continue as a pariah state, never at peace, always afraid of the Palestinian people it is trying to erase from history.

    8. Your fantasy is vile anti semitism with no basis in fact.Oh and I live in London but I did once have a flat above a Begel shop and went out with a Jewish girl for while so in your strange little world that probably makes me a Mossad agent.No point in arguing with a racist like you though ,good night.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.