Why Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure to apologise for a wreath he laid 4 years ago

Jeremy Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn
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  • Jeremy Corbyn is at the eye of a media storm for allegedly laying a wreath for the terrorists behind the Munich massacre in 1972.
  • Sources close to the Labour leader deny this, claiming he was commemorating a 1985 air strike, which was widely condemned at the time.
  • However Corbyn’s story has changed multiple times, with Corbyn coming under further scrutiny.
  • Corbyn was condemned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night, who said his actions needed “unequivocal condemnation.”

LONDON – Jeremy Corbyn’s torrid summer got worse over the weekend as he faced fresh allegations of associating with anti-Semites.

The wreath-laying scandal – the latest accusation to rock the Labour leader’s office – led to an online spat between Corbyn and Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel.

Corbyn’s loyal supporters say he is the victim of a smear campaign from the media. On Tuesday, supporters told Sky News that the latest allegation was the work of the “the right wing of the Labour party that just want to unseat him.”

But what are these latest allegations? And why do they matter?

jeremy corbyn united ireland

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What are the latest allegations against Corbyn?

According to the Daily Mail, in 2014 Corbyn attended a service to honour Palestinian ‘martyrs’ in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, laying a wreath next to a plaque for the Black September bombers.

The Black September bombers were terrorists who were behind the Munich massacre in 1972. They took 11 Israeli Olympic team members hostage and demanded the release of 234 Palestinian prisoners.

The West German government tried to negotiate with the Black September terrorists but to no avail. The terrorists murdered all 11 hostages. A police officer was also killed.

While Corbyn has shared platforms with many people with questionable views, including those with anti-Semitic beliefs, there are few he has been associated with that are as uniquely contemptible as the Black September terrorists.

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn stands in the garden at the Olive Tree Cafe in Swindon

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Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn stands in the garden at the Olive Tree Cafe in Swindon
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Thomson Reuters

What’s Corbyn side of the story?

Sources close to Corbyn are eager to contextualise his visit to Tunis. Corbyn was invited by Tunisian President Moncef Mazroui, as part of a conference to unite the Palestinian factions in order to negotiate for a Palestinian state.

They add that the delegation to unite Palestinian factions went to visit the Palestinian National Cemetery, where there was a ceremony for an illegal bombing committed by Israel in 1985. At the time, this bombing was condemned by the UN and then-UK and US leaders, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

In regards to a commemoration of Salah Khalaf, the apparent mastermind of the Munich massacre, Corbyn said on Monday: “I was present when it was laid, I don’t think I was actually involved in it.”

He said he would not apologise for being present at the wreath-laying as he was there “to try and promote peace in the Middle East,” and claimed that he “witnessed many other people laying many wreaths.”

“There are other people in that cemetery, as are indeed in many other cemeteries around the world, but a wreath was laid in memory of those that died,” he added.

Ankie Spitzer, whose husband Andrei was killed in the Munich massacre, has called on Corbyn to apologise for being present at the wreath-laying.

“He doesn’t have to come to apologise to me,” she told Sky News. “He should apologise to the victims of terror. And that’s what he said – ‘I want to honour the victims of terror’.

“Where were you? Did you ever come to the graves of my husband, or to other terror victims? We never saw you Mr Corbyn.”