Joel Benenson, formerly a top Obama pollster and now a chief strategist to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, is ready to renew his links to the British Labour Party. According to Guido Fawkes the stumbling block which would prevent his involvement is the election as Labour leader of ‘friend’ of terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, Jeremy Corbyn MP.
Benenson, founder and CEO of Benenson Strategy Group, has worked with Britain’s Labour Party before. He subjected Prime Minister Gordon Brown to intensive preparation for the 2010 General Election debates, something he previously did with more success for Obama in 2008 and repeated in 2012.
Sources have reportedly pointed to Corbyn’s extreme views on Israel as the major stumbling block to sealing the deal. If Corbyn wins, Benenson will not come on board. If another candidate beats Corbyn, Labour will secure his services, in particular on the London mayoral campaign. This could either prove to be a short-lived relationship or one which risks seriously embarrassing Hillary Clinton.
One of the two front runners in Labour field of six potential mayoral candidates is Sadiq Khan MP. He will be involved in a tight race with Dame Tessa Jowell MP, but in an era when Blairite MPs are proving unpopular in Labour circles, Khan stands a stronger chance of winning.
If he does, it will mean Benenson could end up advising one of the more controversial candidates for mayor at the same time as helping secure a second Clinton White House.
Back in 2001 Khan was the attorney acting for the Nation of Islam in the successful High Court battle which overturned the 15 year ban on Louis Farrakhan visiting the UK. He described the judge’s decision as “very brave and sensible“. Four years later he became the MP for Tooting in London, but maintained his campaigning stance.
In 2005 and 2006 Khan visited Babar Ahmad in Woodhill Prison where he was being held following his arrest the previous year on terrorism charges. On each occasion the meetings were bugged without either party’s knowledge. An official investigation into the events reported “the monitoring was carried out lawfully… was properly authorised and fully documented.”
Despite the campaigning efforts of Khan, Ahmad was later extradited to the United States where he eventually pleaded guilty to terrorist offences of conspiracy and providing material support to the Taliban.
Khan has also campaigned for the release and repatriation of his friend Shaker Aamer, one of the first men to be detained at Guantanamo Bay and now the last remaining Briton to be held there. He has lobbied the British Foreign Office and the Prime Minister on many occasions and attended demonstrations outside Parliament.
Formerly known as CagePrisoners, this is the advocacy group which according to their publicity, works “to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror”.
As Breitbart London has reported, others see it as an apologist group for terrorism, with its roots in helping former Guantanamo detainees and people charged by the British government under the Terrorism Act.
Benenson may be lucky and Corbyn could fail to win the Labour leadership election he looks likely to win. The problem for him, and for Hillary Clinton, is that he may then find he is advising an equally unpalatable client.