In one of his bids to escape the antisemitism crisis engulfing the Labour party, last Friday Jeremy Corbyn offered this line in The Guardian:
Labour staff have seen examples of Holocaust denial, crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one individual who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood.
Mr Corbyn should know all about 9/11 conspiracy bunkum. He has been an enthusiastic champion of Raed Salah, one of the notable peddlers.
Raed Salah is the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. It is close to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Salah visited the UK in 2011, planning to speak alongside MPs as part of his tour, including Mr Corbyn.
Salah had been flagged and then banned from the country before embarking, but border officers at Heathrow missed him and he slipped through. A furore followed. No wonder, as Salah has a long history of malicious antisemitic agitation.
Raed Salah wrote in Saut Al-Haqq Wa-Al-Hurriyya, “A suitable way was found to warn the 4,000 Jews who work every day at the Twin Towers to be absent from their work on September 11, 2001, and this is really what happened! Were 4,000 Jewish clerks absent [from their jobs] by chance, or was there another reason? At the same time, no such warning reached the 2,000 Muslims who worked every day in the Twin Towers, and therefore there were hundreds of Muslim victims.”
For the ”unique mover” was at work:
“The unique mover wanted to carry out the bombings in Washington and New York in order to provide the Israeli establishment with a way out of its entanglements, and in order to divert the attention of the media towards the American continent. This would allow the Israeli establishment to deal with our Palestinian people without [outside interference], and would give the Jewish extremists a rare opportunity to work towards destroying the Al-Aqsa mosque.”
A decade on, when Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces in 2011, Salah’s movement spoke up for the “sheikh” and “martyr” who was the mastermind of 9/11:
We in the Islamic Movement condemn the assassination operation against the sheikh, the martyr Osama Bin Laden, if [reports are] true, at the hands of the American security arms. The assassination, if true, proves collusion of mercenaries who have sold their consciences to cursed Satan.
All of this was known and widely discussed in the summer of 2011. As the controversy escalated, this blog was in the thick of it, but so were the BBC, the Jewish Chronicle, and the broadsheets. The coverage included reports on Salah’s 9/11 conspiracy poison.
Furthermore, the procession of admiring visitors to Mr Salah when he was held under house arrest in London was quite instructive by itself. Here he is with George Galloway, inveterate champion of the worst antisemites.
Here Azzam “Kaboom” Tamimi, suicide bomber manqué and one of Britain’s most notorious Hamasniks, pays his respects to Salah.
The obligatory Jewish fig leaf makes an appearance – the tiny and weird Neturei Karta sect.
Here is Stephen Sizer, plainly pleased to meet Mr Salah. Sizer is the disgraced antisemitic vicar who has a taste of his own for 9/11 conspiracy theories. Mr Corbyn defended Sizer when he too was obviously a man of hatred, not faith.
In a moment of liberty, Salah visited the Finsbury Park Mosque and its leader, Mohammed Kozbar. This mosque is Mr Corbyn’s Islington heartland and is closely linked to Hamas.
Salah also visited the Noor mosque in Acton, a dark home for jihadi preaching.
Mr Corbyn was not disturbed by all this. On the contrary. It drew him in. In fact, he was so keen on Salah that he too went to visit him in London.
A year on from that contentious summer, after so much had been revealed, Mr Corbyn was very much on message. Here you will see him calling Raed Salah “a very honoured citizen” whose voice “must be heard”. Corbyn proceeds to look forward to taking “tea on the terrace” at Parliament with Salah.
To Corbyn’s right in the video is Daud Abdullah of Middle East Monitor (MEMO), a Hamasnik propaganda operation which helped to organise Mr Salah’s ill-fated UK tour. Abdullah’s deputy at MEMO is the fundamentalist and Hamas servant Ibrahim Hewitt, a “very good friend” of Mr Corbyn.
Further down the road, C4’s Cathy Newman asked Corbyn about Raed Salah in 2015. Corbyn resorted to a strange defence – Israel didn’t stop him from leaving Israel. If it had, naturally Mr Corbyn would have been the first to bewail Israeli “repression”. Oh, and of course Salah did not say anything antisemitic to Corbyn. So that’s OK then.
Let’s not forget that Mr Corbyn himself engages in conspiracy talk. In a conversation with the Iranian propaganda channel and conspiracy repository Press TV, he suspected the “hand of Israel” in a terrorist attack on Egyptian police officers. He has also backed Russian propaganda about chemical attacks in Syria.
Today, Mr Corbyn seems to think criticising 9/11 conspiracists will burnish his tarnished image. In light of his record, this is only another measure of his delusion.