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Key labour figure defends calling out Israel's 'genocide' in Gaza

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Uk Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (L) and John McDonnell, after McDonnell gave his Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer speech, at the 2016 Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, September 26, 2016. (Photo via Wikimedia)

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s key ally, John McDonnel, has defended his remarks during a 2012 speech, where he accused Israel of perpetrating a “genocide” by attacking Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.

The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday that it had found a previously unseen video of McDonnel that shows him addressing a pro-Palestinian rally during Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2012.

“Nobody can speak without expressing some form of solidarity with the people of Gaza as the children are murdered and the bombs are flying from Israel,” McDonnel said during the address.

“I think it’s absolutely critical now that we use every platform we can to expose what is going on, which is effectively an attempt at genocide against the Palestinians,” he added.

Outraged by the report, the Board of Deputies of British Jews demanded the shadow chancellor to apologize for his “wild claims.”

McDonnel, however, stood by his words and a spokesman for him said the MP “took pride” in what he said at the time.

“John takes pride in and stands by his track record, and will always stand up for the victims of such disproportionate violence,” his spokesman said.

In November 2012, Israel began an eight-day war against the coastal sliver of Gaza, conducting airstrikes and shelling attacks on over 1,500 sites on the Palestinian side of the border.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at least 174 Palestinians were killed as a result of the Israeli attacks and hundreds more were injured.

Gaza has also been under an inhumane Israeli siege since 2007 and has witnessed three wars since 2008.

The allegations against McDonnel come amid renewed violence against the people of Gaza, who have witnessed increasingly more Israeli attacks since March 30, the day Palestinians started “The Great March of Return,” demanding the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.

Over 130 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more wounded in the violent crackdown.

Corbyn and his party have come under immense pressure from pro-Israel groups to apologize for speaking out against Israel’s crimes against the people of Palestine.

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