The leader of the UK's Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn — long dogged by accusations of personal and party-wide antisemitism — met Tuesday evening with the founder of an internationally renowned anti-Israel student group, The Algemeiner has learned.
According to information gathered by covert campus watchdog group Canary Mission, Corbyn attended the London book signing of Dr. Hatem Bazian, senior lecturer at UC Berkeley and father of Students for Justice in Palestine.
Pictures from the evening — hosted by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) as part of a promotion tour for Bazian's new book, Palestine...It Is Something Colonial — show the two men posing together.
"The fact that Britain's opposition leader took the time to attend Bazian's event and show solidarity with one of the most notorious fathers of anti-Israel agitation in academia indicates that Bazian's influence is increasing," Canary Mission said.
The meeting should "alarm" Britain's Jewish community, Canary Mission said, as Corbyn is showing "open support for the demagogic founder of SJP, who once called for an intifada in the US and created the most influential student vehicle for the delegitimization of the Jewish people's history and very identity."
According to an IHRC summary of the event, Bazian spoke about his new book at length, which calls for the re-framing of "the Palestine situation through the lens of settler colonialism," adding:
Dr. Bazian also looked back to 1492 — a period he describes as critical. He places Palestine within the context of the dismantling of Ottoman structures by colonial powers. It came to be that religion was deployed as something imperial that gave authority for dispossession. Today, the settlements in Palestine are rationalized with a biblical narrative. In the same way, Zionism uses nationalism and colonialism to justify the existence of Israel. It is an ideology that replicates Eurocentricity and surrenders to antisemitism instead of seeking to defeat it.
Bazian's organization, SJP, has been at the center of numerous controversies on US college campuses. As was reported by The Algemeiner, a Brandeis study published in October found that "one of the strongest predictors of perceiving a hostile climate towards Israel and Jews is the presence of an active SJP group on campus."
Though SJP continues to make waves at American universities, according to a leading Jewish human-rights and antisemitism expert who spoke with The Algemeiner in November, the group is "increasingly on the defensive" as it finds itself spending "much of its energy trying to deny its obvious bigotry" and responding to accusations of blatant Jew-hatred.
Corbyn, for his part, has been embroiled in several scandals over the years regarding his own anti-Israel views and affiliation with terror-sympathizers. In May, as The Algemeiner reported, then-British Prime Minister David Cameron called on Corbyn to explicitly retract a statement in which he referred to terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah as "friends." Corbyn refused to comply.
Most recently, Corbyn has come under fire for his failure to properly address rampant Jew-hatred and antisemitic anti-Zionism within his own party. The findings of a Labour Party inquiry into these allegations were rejected by a leading UK antisemitism watchdog as a "meaningless whitewash."
Corbyn's office did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner's request for comment on the encounter with Bazian.