Israeli PM piles pressure on Jeremy Corbyn over wreath-laying

Corbyn admitted being present at the ceremony for killers who carried out Olympics massacre. Picture: John Devlin
Corbyn admitted being present at the ceremony for killers who carried out Olympics massacre. Picture: John Devlin
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Pressure is growing on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after Israeli’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for “unequivocal condemnation” of his attendance at a controversial wreath-laying ceremony.

Mr Corbyn has admitted being present at a ceremony for the Palestinian killers who carried out the Munich Olympics massacre.

But the Labour leader said he did not think he had been actually involved in the commemoration of members of Black September, who murdered 11 Israelis at the 1972 Olympics.

A tweet from the office of Israel’s prime minister said: “The laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorists who perpetrated the Munich massacre and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone – left, right and everything in between.”

In response, the Labour leader tweeted: “Israeli PM @Netanyahu’s claims about my actions and words are false. What deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children.”

He added: “The nation state law sponsored by @Netanyahu’s government discriminates against Israel’s Palestinian minority. I stand with the tens of thousands of Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel demonstrating for equal rights at the weekend in Tel Aviv.”

Labour MPs have demanded an apology from Mr Corbyn after he admitted being present at the ceremony.

The outcry came after pictures of Mr Corbyn holding a wreath during a visit in 2014 to a Tunisian cemetery emerged three days ago.

It was reported he visited graves of men behind the atrocity, including a senior Palestinian Liberation Organisation figure reportedly killed by Israeli agents in Paris in 1992.

Labour had said he had been at the cemetery to pay his respects at a separate memorial to those killed in a 1985 Israeli air strike on PLO offices in Tunis.

But Mr Corbyn told Sky News yesterday: “A wreath was indeed laid by some of those who attended the conference of those who were killed in Paris in 1992.”

Asked whether he was involved in the wreath-laying, he said: “I was present when it was laid. I don’t think I was actually involved in it.”

Mr Corbyn added: “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. You cannot pursue peace by a cycle of violence.”

The photographs prompted fresh attacks by Labour MPs, who have already accused him of failing to take tough enough action to stamp out anti-Semitism in the party.