Report: Britain’s Likely New Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn Sought Release of Convicts in 1994 Israeli London Embassy Bombing
Leading U.K. Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn was instrumental in the campaign to release two people who were sentenced over their involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish NGO building and the Israeli embassy in London, the Jewish Chronicle reported on Tuesday.
Corbyn repeatedly raised the case in the British parliament, alleging that the charges of conspiracy to cause the bombings and 20-year sentences for Palestinians Jawad Botmeh and Samar Alami were a miscarriage of justice. Introducing five early day motions between 2002 and 2006, Corbyn openly called for the parole of the two men who were charged with conspiring to detonate cars packed with 20-30 pounds of explosives in front of Balfour House and the Israeli embassy in London.
In 2003, Corbyn questioned Home Secretary David Blunkett, asking him whether there were fingerprints tying the two to the bombings, whether the drivers had been identified and where the bombs were made. Botmeh was released in 2008 and and Alami in 2009.
At the time, Israeli and British intelligence blamed the incident on pro-Iranian extremists, perhaps linked to Hezbollah, according to the BBC. Later, prosecutors said Botmeh and Alami were involved with a splinter group originating in Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which also receives substantial backing from Iran.
Corbyn’s candidacy and lead in the polls has troubled many of Britain’s Jews, with one survey pointing to 7 out of 10 Jews concerned with the Islington North MP’s ascent.
No stranger to controversy over foreign policy, Corbyn just this week ruffled feathers when video surfaced of him calling Osama bin Laden’s death a “tragedy” comparable to 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has called members of Hamas and Hezbollah “our friends,” and been associated with Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, though he claims he did not know Eisen was a Holocaust denier when he met him.