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Who Were Corbyn’s “Friends” from Hezbollah?

Jeremy Corbyn’s “friend” from Hezbollah, Hussein el Hajj Hassan, has been re-elected as a Hezbollah MP.

He has been serving as Lebanon’s Minister of Industry in recent years and found himself caught up in a smuggling scandal in the run up to the elections. El Hajj Hassan was one of the Hezbollah guests of Corbyn’s when he made his now infamous comments about “our friends in Hezbollah”.

Both Hussein el Hajj Hassan and Dyab Abou Jahjah were the guests of honour at an event he hosted in the House of Commons in 2009. He made the comments to them at a Stop the War Coalition event the night before the event he hosted in Parliament.

The event in the House of Commons was to launch the British wing of the organisation Dyab Abou Jahjah had recently founded; the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine (IUPFP), Sukant Chandon is listed as the head of the British wing of the group, HP posted a good summary of what Chandon was up to at the time.

In the publicity for the event Hassan was referred to as a “Hezbollah leader”.

The publicity for the event where Corbyn was filmed referring to Jahjah and Hassan as his friends was called Solidarity with the Struggle for Peace and Justice in the Middle East:

According to the Guardian Corbyn claimed before the Home Affairs Select Committee that he had made the comments at a meeting in the House of Commons in the context of peace, they quote him saying:

“The language I used at that meeting was actually here in parliament and it was about encouraging the meeting to go ahead, encouraging there to be a discussion about the peace process,”

But the meeting was already going ahead, it is the reason they were here in the first place and there was far more mention of resistance at the meeting than peace.

The official reason Hassan and Jahjah were here was to launch the British wing of the group International Union of Parliamentarians For Palestine of which Abou Jahjah was the International Director. The chair of the British wing of the group was Sukant Chandan who continued to host events in the name of the group in 2009.

Note the tag line from the Stop the War Coalition publicity above is “come and hear elected representatives from the resistance in Palestine and Lebanon”.

The sick joke about Corbyn saying that he was encouraging for there to be a discussion about peace is that el Hajj Hassan’s speech was all about “resistance” to Israel during which he wasn’t challenged by that fan of “robust debate”Corbyn or anyone else. You can watch his speech in the video below.

You’ll note that the background to Hassan is the same as the background to Corbyn’s video of him calling Hezbollah his friends:

So bearing in mind that Corbyn’s constant has been that this is all about peace it might be worth looking at what Hassan actually said at the meeting:

As you know we live in constant war since 1948 that mean 61 years when Israel attacked Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and occupied Palestine. As a result of that war hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people were killed and wounded and about 4 million Palestinians are today displaced from their homes and live in refugees in miserable conditions…

In 2006 Israel attacked Lebanon again, once more, the resistance defeated Israel army and obliged Israel to accept a prisoner exchange deal that is initially rejected, it’s important to know that some of these prisoners have spent 30 years without any reason in Israeli jails, the resistance three of them. In another part of our region the United States of America occupied Iraq, the reason is Israel and oil and domination.

Dyab Abou Jahjah

The second Hezbollah man Corbyn was addressing when he said “my friends in Hezbollah” was Dyab Abou Jahjah. He admits he was a member of Hezbollah and received training from them. Here he is as a younger man posing with an AK 47 assault rifle.

Before Corbyn met him and called him his friend Abou Jahjah was already infamous. In 2006 the Arab European League, which he founded, published a series of Holocaust denial cartoons as a response to the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammad. When questioned at the time Jahjah said:

“Europe had made of political correctness and the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshiping its alternative religion and is even more uptight when you touch that.”

In 2015 the Guardian ran a piece on Jahjah at the height of the controversy surrounding Corbyn’s comments. The strap line for the article was:

“Political commentator Abou Jahjah is well respected in his Belgian homeland, but his past views are troubling the Labour leadership candidate”

In the article Jessica Elgot claims:

Dyab Abou Jahjah, the man at the centre of the most recent row over Jeremy Corbyn’s past associates, was once called “Belgium’s Malcolm X” and deemed an extremist by Britain and banned from entering the country.

But he is now firmly established as a reputable commentator on Arab issues and is a household name in his adopted homeland, with a column in the centre-right De Standaard and the creator of an organisation fighting racial discrimination.

A year before Elgot wrote her article Jahjah responded to the decision by Antwerp’s Mayor to increase security around Jewish community buildings in the wake of that terror attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels by tweeting at the Mayor “Where was your army when Hans van Temsche shot down foreigners and children in broad daylight in Antwerp #zionist_fucker (literally someone who sucks off Zionists)”:

Fast forward to January 2017 and the “firmly established”, “reputable commentator” was sacked from his job as a columnist. Why? Because he responded to the Armon Hanatziv attack in Jerusalem, which killed 4 and wounded 15 Israeli soldiers in the following way:

When Corbyn referred to his friends in Hezbollah he wasn’t speaking in a general sense he was speaking directly to two people in a crowded room. Neither of them were part of any peace process and neither of them were challenged on their views by Corbyn or anyone else. In fact they were feted by him and everyone else for their views on “resistance”.

Corbyn isn’t a fan of peace, he’s a fan of Great Britain making peace with terrorists and murderers. Hardly the same thing.