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© Peter Summers/Getty ImagesKeir Starmer (L) and Jeremy Corbin in December 2019
The Jewish state's influence on the party expected to win the general election is "huge," its former leader has said.

Before becoming UK Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer issued a demand to his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, for total party support for any future military Israeli operations, the latter has claimed.

Corbyn was ousted from his position and later the party itself in a campaign centered around claims, now widely debunked, that he allowed anti-Semitism to go unchecked among members. The politician, who has a life-long record of pro-peace and pro-Palestinian activism, made the revelation in an interview with independent journalist Matt Kennard published on Wednesday.

Kennard asked Corbyn whether he was shocked by the level of support that Starmer and other senior Labour figures had offered to Israel in its ongoing military campaign in Gaza. He said he was not surprised "because I know where many of these people are coming from."
"During one extremely hostile meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party Committee, they confronted me and said: 'Will you give a blanket undertaking that you as party leader and potentially prime minister will automatically support any military action Israel undertakes?' And I said no."
The pressure that the Israeli government exerts on the party "is huge," according to Corbyn, as is the influence of the pro-Israel lobby on British politics in general.


The attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas last October that triggered the current escalation "was wrong," Corbyn said. But the "response of killing tens of thousands of people doesn't bring anybody back and has created the hatred and the wars of tomorrow and the year after."

Corbyn specifically rebuked his successor for an interview with LBC days after the Hamas attack, in which Starmer claimed that in order to "defend itself," Israel "has the right" to cut water and power supplies to Gaza.


Those remarks "totally shocked" Corbyn. He said:
"It's absolutely clear in every aspect of law, never mind morality, that you don't bomb schools, you don't destroy water supplies, you don't cut off electricity. Contrary to Starmer's assessment, such actions constitute a war crime."
The interview covered the role of the UK in the US "imperial project," as Kennard put it, as well as Corbyn's attempt to wind down the "special relations" between the two nations, and what the snap election in early July may bring for Britons.