Andrew Gilligan

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Andrew Gilligan at the Frontline Club, London, 17 April 2008

Andrew Gilligan is a British journalist who became known for reporting that questioned the motive for the war against Iraq in 2003, that is, the weapons of mass destruction. For some years Gilligan worked for the BBC and reported from Baghdad. Upon returning to the UK he obtained information from the British weapons inspector which cast doubt on the Iraqi weapons inspector; Gilligan's report directly contradicted Tony Blair's statement at the House of Parliament that Iraq had chemical weapons ready to be used in "45 minutes". The full weight of the British propaganda system was unleashed to sack Gilligan and to re-orient the BBC to be compliant with the war aims in Iraq. On both counts Alastair Campbell was successful; Gilligan was sacked and the top men at the BBC also resigned. Gilligan was hired several months later by the Spectator, where he spent two years. He then joined the Evening Standard, where in 2007 he initiated a campaign against Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, the pet hate of the owners and editors at the Evening Standard. [1]

Gilligan is currently a senior reporter for the Sunday Times.


Luke Davies writing in OpenDemocracy states that Gilligan is "responsible for circulating rumours alleging Corbyn's links to the IRA, Hamas and Eisen." [2]

Corbyn links to IRA

In an article for the Telegraph on 18 July 2015, Gilligan states that from "the mid-Eighties, a decade before the IRA ceasefire, Corbyn worked hard to build links between Labour and the Provos, regularly hosting senior figures from their political wing in Parliament, calling for British withdrawal from Northern Ireland and paying tribute to deceased terrorists." [3] Gilligan adds that Corbyn's "defenders call him ahead of his time; his opponents say that, by giving the IRA hope that the armed struggle was working, he and others on the Left actually prolonged the conflict. [3]

Corbyn links to Hamas, Iran and Extremism

In the same article, Gilligan linked Corbyn to Hamas, Iran and what Gilligan alledges to be extremist organisations. Gilligan writes that Corbyn shared a platform with Muqtada al-Sadr who led the Mahdi Army militia which "killed at least 70 British soldiers, not to mention thousands of Iraqi civilians" and that The Telegraph can reveal that Corbyn 'has taken thousands of pounds in gifts from organisations closely linked to the terror group Hamas, whose operatives he once described as “friends”.'[3]

Gilligan adds that "in February 2013, Corbyn and his wife travelled to Gaza thanks to a £2,800 gift from Interpal, a British charity banned by the US government as “part of the funding network of Hamas” and as a terrorist organisation in its own right." Gilligans adds that 'Interpal’s managing trustee, Essam Mustafa, was pictured eighteen months ago accompanying the Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, on an official visit in Gaza. The two were filmed clapping and singing an anti-Israeli song in praise of Hamas’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, and Hamas “martyrs”' and 'Dr Mustafa also paid his respects at the shrine for Ahmed Said Khalil, the head of the al-Qassam Brigades killed in an Israeli airstrike. Dr Mustafa is a former member of Hamas’s executive committee.' [3]

Gilligan says that "in 2012, Mr Haniyeh and Dr Mustafa visited the homes of Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, a senior Hamas leader who once promised he would "kill Jews everywhere," and Sheikh Said Seyam, who commanded Hamas's Executive Force, a militia that tortured and murdered Palestinian supporters of Fatah during Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2006." [3]

Corbyn and Antisemitism

An article in The Telegraph on 1 May 2016, co-authored by Gilligan, Patrick Sawer, Tim Ross and Robert Mendick, explored the antisemitism in the Labour Party. The article is mainly based on a "dossier compiled by The Telegraph [which] includes a series of disturbing examples of anti-Semitic attitudes among party activists and leading members."

The dossier revealed the following:

  • A London Labour council leader shared a Facebook post comparing the “terrorist state of Israel” to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). He apologised and deleted it on Saturday;
  • Mr Corbyn questioned why an anti-Semitic mural in east London should be taken down;
  • The Labour leader also attended events run by self-confessed Holocaust denier Paul Eisen long after his views had become clear, and
  • A Labour council candidate used the derogatory term “Zios” to refer to Jews.

Regarding Corbyn, the article says that in "a particularly disturbing reflection of attitudes on the Labour left, Mr Corbyn is accused of having given his support to a controversial mural in Tower Hamlets of stereotypical Jewish figures counting money at a Monopoly-style board resting on the backs of the poor." The article states that 'Mr Corbyn questioned its removal. When Mear One wrote on his Facebook page that the mural was to be taken down, a reply from Mr Corbyn’s account read: “Why? You are in good company. Rockefeller [American businessman] destroyed [radical artist] Diego Rivera’s mural [in his New York building, the Rockefeller Center] because it includes a picture of Lenin.”'

The article also pointed to evidence that Corbyn had close relations with Holocaust denier Paul Eisen. The article states that Corbyn attended Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR) events, the organisation led Eisen. According to the article, Corbyn said that “Fifteen years ago, he [Eisen] was certainly not a Holocaust denier. Had he been a Holocaust denier, or stated he was, I’d have had absolutely nothing to do with him … At that time I had no evidence whatsoever that Paul Eisen was a Holocaust denier.” However, the article says that Corbyn attended a 'DYR event organised by Mr Eisen in St John’s Wood, London, on April 9 2013, by which time Mr Eisen had been an open Holocaust denier for at least eight years: in January 2008, he published an essay in which he stated that Holocaust “revisionists” are “amongst the bravest people on the planet”.'

The article also points to a number of Labour officials and members sharing platforms that "call into question their judgment." One example is MEND, which the article states is an "extremist group."

After being reached for comment by The Telegraph, Eric Pickles, the government’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, said: “Jeremy Corbyn has legitimised and unleashed a strain of anti-Semitism that has been lurking in the shadows of the Left for quite some time.

"It is wrapped up in the hard Left’s hatred of the West and, for many, the Middle East’s only true democracy, Israel. Jeremy himself has spent years sharing platforms with objectionable Islamist extremists.”

On Corbyn's meetings with Paul Eisen, a Labour spokesman commented: “Once he became aware that Paul Eisen was a Holocaust denier, Jeremy Corbyn ended any contact with him and has not attended any DYR events since...Jeremy Corbyn regards Holocaust denial as vile and wrong, and supported the expulsion of a Holocaust denier from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign as a PSC patron in 2012...Jeremy Corbyn is a lifelong campaigner against racism, including anti-Semitism. He is implacably opposed to anti-Semitism and has taken rapid action against members who have made anti-Semitic comments." [4]

Back to Corbyn, Gilligan says that 'Corbyn has received at least two further free trips, worth £2,450, from the Palestinian Return Centre and its subsidiary the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, based at the PRC office in Crown House, Wembley. The PRC is said by the Israeli government to be “Hamas’s organisational branch in Europe” whose members are “senior Hamas leaders who promote the movement’s agenda in Europe.”'[3]

Gilligans adds that "The Telegraph has obtained evidence from security sources showing that at least one senior PRC leader in Europe has recruited individuals to Hamas. The PRC’s current head of media in the UK, Sameh Habeeb, founded and edited a virulently anti-Semitic website, Palestine Telegraph, which published a video by the former head of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke and numerous conspiracy theories about Jewish control of the world." [3]

Gilligan states that "Mr Corbyn is due to speak at a conference organised by Middle East Monitor (MEMO), another group based at Crown House with strong sympathies for Hamas. MEMO’s director, Daud Abdullah, is a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked British Muslim Initiative, set up and run by the Brotherhood activist Anas al-Tikriti and two senior figures in Hamas." Adding that "Mr Corbyn and MEMO co-sponsored the visit to Britain and to Parliament of an Israel-based anti-Semitic extremist, Sheikh Raed Saleh, found by a British court to have spread the classic “blood libel” against Jews, the claim that they use the blood of gentile children to make their bread. Mr Saleh, who also describes Jews as “monkeys” and “bacteria,” claims that 9/11 was a Jewish plot and that the Jews employed at the World Trade Center were warned not to come into work that day." According to Gilligans 'he was strongly defended by Mr Corbyn, who congratulated him on defeating Government moves to exclude him from Britain, called him “a very honoured citizen who represents his people extremely well” and said he “looked forward to giving you tea on the [House of Commons]terrace.”'[3]

Gilligan points to other meetings Corbyn has had: "Mr Corbyn has met the leadership of Hamas, including Mr Haniyeh, several times, but they are not the only terror group he has had dealings with. He has also praised, and spoken on platforms with, representatives of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, and once shared a platform with the Black September hijacker, Leila Khaled. In November 2012, Mr Corbyn hosted a meeting in Parliament with Mousa Abu Maria, a member of the banned terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad." [3]

October 2016 - Apology to Ifhat Smith

In October 2016, The Telegraph issued an apology to Ifhat Smith after an article written by Gilligan asserted that Smith was "an activist in the Prevent Watch campaign and a key figure in the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which believes in replacing secular democratic government with Islamic government." [5] [6]. The original article written by Gilligan claimed that "Islamist activists linked to Cage, a group known to sympathise with terrorists, are using coordinated leaks to mainstream news organisations, including the BBC, to spread fear and confusion in Muslim communities about the Government’s anti-terror policy, Prevent." The article went on to describe that "investigations by the Telegraph reveal that several widely reported recent stories about Prevent are false or exaggerated – and many of the supposedly “ordinary Muslim” victims are in fact activists in the campaign, known as Prevent Watch. The stories include a claim which became a cause célèbre for Prevent’s opponents – that a Muslim schoolboy from London was “interrogated like a criminal” for using the phrase “ecoterrorism” in class." Ifhat Smith was the boy's mother. [7]

May 2017 - Shared video of Corbyn talking about beheading

On 28 May 2017, Gilligan tweeted "Jeremy Corbyn saying the beheading of Alan Henning is "the price of jingoism" by the West" in reference to an attached video by 'habibi'. [8]

May 2018 - Telegraph pays damages after Gilligan article

In May 2018, The Telegraph had to pay damages to Mohammed Kozbar after an article written by Gilligan in March 2016 "falsely portrayed Mohammed Kozbar as a supporter of violent extremism in an attempt to criticise Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn." In the article, Gilligan claimed that Kozbar "supported the use of violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict and blamed the UK government for the rise of Islamic State."

In the article, titled: “Corbyn and the mosque leader who blames the UK for Isil", Gilligan tried to "connect the Labour leader to extremist views allegedly held by Mohammed Kozbar, who runs the mosque in Corbyn’s Islington North constituency and is also vice-chair of the Muslim Association of Britain." [9]

Articles on Islam


Contact, References and Resources




  1. Tim Luckhurst, So was it the 'Standard' wot won it? Or just a sign of the times?, Independent, 4 May 2008.
  2. Luke Davies, We need to re-examine Corbyn's so-called 'dangerous friendships', OpenDemocracy, 19 August 2016, accessed on 4 April 2022
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Andrew Gilligan Jeremy Corbyn, friend to Hamas, Iran and extremists, The Telegraph, 18 July 2015, archived on 25 February 2018
  4. Andrew Gilligan, Pressure grows on Jeremy Corbyn as dossier of anti-Semitism in Labour Party is revealed, The Telegraph, 1 May 2016, archived on 19 May 2021
  5. Andrew Gilligan, Muslim extremists' 'campaign of lies' to undermine the government's fight against terror, The Telegraph, 30 January 2016, archived on 4 June 2016
  6. Ifhat Smith – an apology, The Telegraph, 29 October 2016, archived on 8 November 2020
  7. Andrew Gilligan, Muslim extremists' 'campaign of lies' to undermine the government's fight against terror, The Telegraph, 30 January 2016, archived on 4 June 2016
  8. Andrew Gilligan, Twitter, 28 May 2017, accessed on 5 April 2022
  9. Jim Waterson, Sunday Telegraph pays damages to mosque chief over Corbyn article, The Guardian, 9 May 2018, accessed on 5 April 2022