Corbyn trades barbs with Netanyahu on Mideast violence

14 August, 2018, 06:26 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Jonathan Goldstein addresses the large crowd in Parliament Square at the #EnoughIsEnough demo
Credit Marc Morris

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn - longed dogged by anti-Semitism accusations - is facing a fresh round of criticism and calls for his resignation following the publication this weekend of photos that appear to show him laying a wreath at a memorial in Tunisia for Palestinian terrorists who perpetrated the 1972 Munich Massacre.

But the Daily Mail said the photographs it published Saturday showed Corbyn standing near the graves of members of the Black September group and that he was 45 feet from the monument to those killed in the Israeli air strike.

Although the Labour Party initially released a statement denying the reports, Corbyn admitted on Monday that he had been at the ceremony.

He added: 'Jeremy did not lay any wreath at the graves of those alleged to have been linked to the Black September organisation or the 1972 Munich killings.

Labour said that Mr Corbyn had already made clear he was paying his respects to the victims of a 1985 Israeli airstrike on Palestinian Liberation Organisation offices in Tunis.

Asked who this wreath had been for, if they were not terrorists, Mr Corbyn replied simply that a wreath "was indeed laid". "I don't think I actually was involved in it".

"I was there because I wanted to see a fitting memorial to everyone who has died in every terrorist incident everywhere because we have to end it", he continued.

He said it was important to ensure "you can discuss and debate the relations between Israel and Palestine, the future of the peace process and, yes, make criticisms of the actions of the Israeli government in the bombing of Gaza and other places".

"Being "present" is the same as being involved", said Labour lawmaker Luciana Berger.

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Many of those believed to have been behind the murder of 11 Israelis in Munich are said to have been subsequently killed by the Israeli secret service.

The names of three of the Munich attackers are also inscribed on the monument to the 1985 air strike.

"After wreaths were laid at the graves of those who died on that day and on the graves of others killed by Mossad agents in Paris in 1991, we moved to the poignant statue in the main avenue of the coastal town of Ben Arous, which was festooned with Palestinian and Tunisian flags", he wrote. He told Sky's Tamara Cohen that he participated in the memorial to achieve peace in the Middle East, including having "laid the wreath" on behalf of the victims of an Israeli raid on the PLO organization in Tunis.

It also emerged that Mr Corbyn stood next to a leading member of an active Palestinian terrorist group during the ceremony in 2014.

"His response to these latest revelations really stretches credibility, and it's also part of a pattern where he never acknowledges his role and never takes responsibility and never apologises for the deep offence caused", said James Sorene, chief executive of the British Israel Communications and Research Centre.

The pictures emerged amid continuing controversy over Labour's refusal to adopt in full an worldwide definition of anti-Semitism, including a list of examples of anti-Semitic behaviour.

Corbyn quickly responded, criticizing the actions of Israeli forces this year at the Gaza border, as well as the recent bill passed in the Knesset that defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

But Mick Whelan, general secretary of train drivers' union Aslef, who sits on the NEC, said he voted for the code because it is an advance on the original document.

Corbyn said Labour was consulting with Jewish groups on the party's definition of anti-Semitism.

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