Politics

UK Foreign Office Staff Told Not To Call Hamas ‘Terrorists’: Report

UK Foreign Office staff were reportedly told that it was wrong to call Hamas terrorists and that Israel, as a “white, settler colonialist” nation, was ultimately to blame for the conflict in the Middle East.

A report from the London-based Jewish Chronicle claimed that the Foreign Office held a seminar for civil servants in which they were lectured by four academics, Professor Jeroen Gunning from King’s College London,  Dr Tristan Dunning of the University of Queensland, Dr Anas Iqtait of Australian National University in Canberra, and Dr Martin Kear of the University of Sydney, on how to discuss the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the wake of the October 7th terror attacks.

The session, which was attended by around 100 top staff members from the government’s diplomatic arm, was billed “Israel/Gaza: What next for Hamas” and was set up by the senior Middle East research analyst from the Foreign Office, Martin Hetherington.

Despite Hamas terrorists killing around 1,200 people in Israel and taking hundreds more captive, Foreign Office staff were reportedly told that using the “terrorist label” for Hamas was “unhelpful” and that it may serve to derail efforts to achieve a peace settlement under the pretence that the “political wing” of Hamas was more “moderate” and therefore necessary to “engage with them”.

After being pressed by Foreign Office staff was whether the October 7th massacre should be described as terrorism, the academics are said to have refused to respond, however, Professor Gunning reportedly said that it should be viewed in the context of Palestinian “resistance” to the supposed “occupation” from Israel, despite the Jewish state withdrawing from Gaza in 2005.

Meanwhile, Dr Dunning said that as an Australian: “I know all about white, settler colonialism and stealing land from the native population,” comparing Israel to the British colonisation of Australia.

Responding to the revelations from the seminar held for civil servants, a Foreign Office spokesman said: “The UK Government’s position is unequivocal that Hamas is a terrorist organisation. Many of the views expressed by the academics in the seminar were wrong and contrary to the government’s position.

“We have a zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination, including antisemitism. We are reviewing guidance on internal seminars to ensure speakers invited are appropriate.”

The four academics previously co-authored a report submitted to the House of Commons on Foreign Affairs Select Committee in the month following the October 7th attacks.

In their paper, they claimed that British foreign policy was partially to blame for the terror attack, claiming that the “dismissal of the political overtures of Hamas’s political leadership since 2006” and a lack of pressure put on Israel to end the so-called “siege” of Gaza “helped to create the conditions” for the massacre in Israel last year.

“The designation of all of Hamas as terrorist by the UK and other Western governments has furthermore helped to create a permissive environment for Israel to target any building or person in Gaza, as many are connected to Hamas in one way or another as the de facto government, a major social welfare provider, and a social movement with grassroots support,” their report added.

The academics went on to argue that in providing arms to the Jewish state, the UK could be found “complicit in war crimes committed during Israel’s punitive war on Gaza, including potentially the charge of genocide.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on X: or e-mail to: kzindulka@breitbart.com



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