Owen Jones slammed after blaming UK for Hamas’s rampant homophobia

Sophy Ridge loses it with Owen Jones in heated on-air Israel row

Owen Jones has been torn apart on X, formerly known as Twitter, for a post claiming Britain should shoulder the blame for Palestine’s homophobic laws.

In a series of posts, Mr Jones claimed the biggest threat to “LGBTQ+ Gaza’s comes from the Israeli onslaught”.

A post from the Guardian columnist arguing that the British Empire is responsible for Gaza’s anti-gay discrimination received a humiliating “community note”, fact-checking his claims.

Mr Jones posted: “By the way, it wasn’t actually Hamas who introduced the law banning homosexuality in Gaza.

“Guess who it was? The British Empire.

READ MORE: Sky News’s Sophy Ridge scolds Owen Jones in heated on-air Israel row

“’Same-sex sexual activity is prohibited in Gaza under the British Mandate Criminal Code Ordinance 1936.’”

Users of the Elon Musk-owned site quickly pointed out that the British Mandate over Palestine ended on May 14, 1948.

The fact check added: “Nothing forces its successors to maintain such laws – Israel and Jordan both repealed them. The Gazan authorities made the choice to not only maintain but also toughen anti-LGBT laws.”

Mr Jones clarified that gay people in Gaza don’t receive the death penalty, but merely prison sentences of “up to 10 years”.

He further argued that “homosexuality is legal in the West Bank, by the way, and has been since… 1951”.

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Homosexuality was decriminalised by Jordan in 1951 when it controlled the land, however in August 2019 the Palestinian Authority announced LGBT groups would be forbidden from meeting in the West Bank on the grounds they are “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society”.

The ban was later withdrawn following backlash.

In February 2016, Hamas used a firing squad to execute one of its group’s leading commanders for homosexual activity.

Israel, by contrast, has the most progressive LGBT rights in the Middle East, legalising same-sex activity in 1988 and recognising same-sex marriages.

Tel Aviv is frequently described as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, featuring annual gay pride parades and a gay beach.

A majority of Israelis support the legalisation of same-sex marriage, and according to Israeli LGBT organisation The Aguda, around 2,000 Palestinian homosexuals live in Tel Aviv at any one time.

New European columnist James Ball described Owen Jones’s take as “grotesquely offensive to the people of Gaza”.

He said: “Suggesting somehow they can’t overcome white men’s legislation from 1936.

“And is even more offensive to gays, by absolving Hamas of their entirely unrelated homophobia.”

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