The widows of the Israeli athletes murdered by at the Munich Olympics have condemned Jeremy Corbyn over reports he took part in a ceremony honouring those behind the deadly terror attack.
The Daily Mail published pictures of the Labour leader holding a wreath in the Palestinian Martyr’s Cemetery in Tunisia, during a visit to the north African country in 2014, the year before Corbyn was elected Labour leader. The pictures showed him holding a wreath close to what the paper said are the graves of figures from Black September, the Palestinian terror group that killed 11 Israeli during the 1972 Olympics.
Labour said that Mr Corbyn had already made clear he was paying his respects to the victims of a 1985 Israeli air strike on Palestinian Liberation Organisation offices in Tunis.
But the Mail said its own visit to the graveyard showed that the pictures were taken in front of a plaque honouring the founder of Black September, which carried out the massacre, while the air strike memorial was 15 yards away.
Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, whose husbands Andre and Yossef were among 11 athletes taken hostage and killed at the 1972 Munich Olympics, warned the Labour leader that he would be “judged by the company you keep”.
And Home Secretary Sajid Javid suggested that Mr Corbyn should quit over the issue.
Mrs Spitzer and Mrs Romano told the Jewish News: “We do not recall a visit of Mr Corbyn to the graves of our murdered fathers, sons and husbands.
“They only went to the Olympic Games in order to participate in this festival of love, peace and brotherhood; but they all returned home in coffins.
“For Mr Corbyn to honour these terrorists is the ultimate act of maliciousness, cruelty and stupidity.”
And they added: “Do not forget, Mr Corbyn, that you will be judged by the company you keep.”
Responding to the Mail story, Labour sources said that Mr Corbyn had already given a full explanation of his presence in the cemetery when the visit first hit the headlines during last year’s general election campaign.
The Labour leader said last year: “I was in Tunisia at a Palestinian conference and I spoke at that Palestinian conference and I laid a wreath to all those that had died in the air attack that took place on Tunis, on the headquarters of the Palestinian organisations there.
“And I was accompanied by very many other people who were at a conference searching for peace.”
Writing in the communist Morning Star at the time of the visit, Mr Corbyn said that wreaths had been laid not only at the memorial, but also “on the graves of others killed by Mossad agents in Paris in 1991”.
The article read:
“After wreaths were laid at the graves of those who diedon that day[at Sabra and Shatila] 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.”
Guido Fawkes points out that there is no record of any Mossad operation that killed anyone in Paris in 1991. However, Mossad is believed to have carried out an assassination in Paris on June 8, 1992, of Atef Bseiso, who was the PLO head of intelligence and was one of the Palestinian terrorists who carried out the Munich massacre. Israel has historically denied the claim.
Mr Javid said: “If this was the leader of any other major political party, he or she would be gone by now.”
Meanwhile, the chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, Jonathan Goldstein, told the Jewish News: “This man is not fit to be a Member of Parliament, let alone a national leader.
“He has spent his entire political career cavorting with conspiracy theorists, terrorists and revolutionaries who seek to undo all the good for which our ancestors have given their lives. In so many ways, enough is enough.”
The pictures emerged amid continuing controversy over Labour’s refusal to adopt in full an international definition of anti-Semitism, including a list of examples of anti-Semitic behaviour.
Sources: Evening Standard / Jewish News