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Israeli PM blasts Jeremy Corbyn for ‘laying wreath on the graves of terrorists’

The Israeli prime minister has criticised Jeremy Corbyn for his part in laying a wreath in memory of Palestinians suspected of killing 11 Israeli athletics during the Munich Olympics massacre.

Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Labour leader of laying a bouquet on the grave of terrorists behind the 1972 attack, during a controversial visit to the Palestinian Martyrs’ Cemetery in Tunisia in 2014.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘The laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorist who perpetrated the Munich massacre and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone – left, right and everything in between.’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jacques Witt/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock (9704476i) Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference at Elysee Palace. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu visit to Paris, France - 05 Jun 2018

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has weighed in on Corbyn wreath-laying controversy on Twitter (Picture: Jcques Witt/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)

Corbyn has earlier said he had been present when a wreath was laid to ‘those that were killed in Paris in 1992’ but he did not ‘think’ he was involved in laying it.

Corbyn responded to Netanyahu on Twitter: ‘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 in a second tweet: ‘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 said he attended the event to remember victims of a 1985 Israeli air strike on Palestinian Liberation Organisation offices in Tunis.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/REX/Shutterstock (9699891o) Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attends the first anniversary of London Bridge terrorist attack in which eight people died. London Bridge terror attacks anniversary, London, UK - 03 Jun 2018

Corbyn called Netanyahu’s claims ‘false’ (Picture: Wiktor Szymanowicz/REX/Shutterstock)

Israeli secret service Mossad was accused of killing terrorists behind the Olympics attack, including Atef Bseiso, a Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) intelligence chief, who was killed in the French capital in 1992.

The Labour leader faced calls to quit on Monday over his controversial visit to the cemetery four years ago.

The row erupted after The Daily Mail published pictures of the Labour leader holding a wreath in the cemetery, which it said were taken in front of a plaque honouring the founder of Black September.

Asked about the incident during a visit to Walsall on Monday Corbyn said: ‘A wreath was indeed laid by some of those who attended conference to those that were killed in Paris in 1992.

‘I was present when it was laid. I don’t think I was actually involved in it (laying 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.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ROMUALD MEIGNEUX/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock (9705391g) Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu visit to Paris, France - 06 Jun 2018

He said Cobyn’s move deserved ‘unequivocal condemnation’ from those on all sides of politics (Picture: ROMUALD MEIGNEUX/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)

‘You cannot pursue peace by a cycle of violence. The only way you pursue peace is a cycle of dialogue.’

Home Secretary Sajid Javid earlier suggested that Corbyn should quit over the issue.

The widows of Israeli athletes murdered by terrorists said they were ‘extremely disturbed’ by claims about the visit.

Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger said on Twitter: ‘Being “present” is the same as being involved.

‘When I attend a memorial, my presence alone, whether I lay a wreath or not, demonstrates my association & support.

‘There can also never be a “fitting memorial” for terrorists. Where is the apology?

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A spokesman for Corbyn reiterated that Corbyn was paying his respects to the victims of a 1985 Israeli air strike on Palestinian Liberation Organisation offices in Tunis.

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.

‘He of course condemns that terrible attack, as he does the 1985 bombing.’

Corbyn said last year he had spoken at the conference, adding: ‘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.’

Writing in The Morning Star at the time of the visit, 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 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.

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Labour launched a consultation with Jewish groups over the code, after protests that the version agreed by the party’s ruling National Executive Committee omits four examples relating to
criticism of the state of Israel.

Three senior union leaders added their voices to calls from deputy leader Tom Watson for the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance text to be incorporated in its entirety into Labour’s new code of conduct on anti-Semitism.

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 the Labour’s version of code was the ‘most sophisticated’ of any political party.

He told reporters: ‘The one example that we are discussing and consulting on is one that makes sure that 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.

‘But you can never make those criticisms using anti-Semitic language or anti-Semitic intentions, and that is what we are absolutely clear on.’



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