Britain’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid, slammed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday for photos of him holding a wreath during a 2014 visit to the graves of Palestinian terrorists.
“If this was the leader of any other major political party, he or she would be gone by now,” Javid wrote in a Twitter post. Javid is a senior member of the ruling Conservative party.
Corbyn has faced renewed criticism since Saturday, when the Daily Mail newspaper published photos of him holding the wreath during a 2014 ceremony at a Tunisian cemetery.
It appeared from the snapshots that Corbyn was standing near the graves of Palestinian terrorists involved in the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
If this was the leader of any other major political party, he or she would be gone by now https://t.co/q1oa07Rngd
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) August 12, 2018
In 2017, the Sunday Times revealed that in an October 2014 article published on the radical left-wing website Morning Star, Corbyn recalled a visit to Tunisia where he marked the anniversary of Israel’s 1985 attack on the Palestine Liberation Organization’s headquarters there, laying wreaths at a cemetery commemorating Palestinians said killed by Israeli forces in various incidents.
Pictures published by the Daily Mail Saturday appear to show Corbyn in front of a plaque honoring members of the Black September terrorist organization, 15 yards (approximately 13 meters) away from the graves of those killed in the 1985 air strike.
One image, said to be from the archives of the Palestinian embassy in Tunisia, seems to show the leader of the UK opposition participating in Islamic prayer.
In his article published after the trip, opposition leader Corbyn does appear to refer to the grave of one of the architects of the Munich massacre.
“After wreaths were laid at the graves of those who died on 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,” he wrote.
This prompted speculation that Corbyn had honored the memory of Atef Bseiso, who was head of intelligence for the PLO and was involved in the murder of the Israeli athletes as part of the 1972 Black September terrorist operation in Munich. Bseiso was killed in Paris in 1992.
At the time, spokespeople for Corbyn told then-Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush that “Jeremy Corbyn condemns the Munich massacre and its perpetrators, and that what he was attending was not anything to do with perpetrator Atef Bseiso, but an event to commemorate the 1985 bombing of the PLO headquarters.”
During the September 1972 attack on the Munich Olympic Village by the Black September Palestinian terror group, 11 Israelis were taken hostage. Two were murdered in the Olympic village and nine others were executed at the airport. A German policeman was killed in a shootout with the terrorists during a botched rescue attempt.
According to the Daily Mail Saturday, the photos from the ceremony show Corbyn in front of a plaque honoring Black September founder Salah Khalaf, his key aide Fakhri al-Omari and Hayel Abdel-Hamid, PLO chief of security. Adjacent to their graves is that of Bseiso. All are widely thought to have been assassinated either by the Mossad or rival Palestinian factions.
ITV News reported Saturday that Labour sources noted Corbyn had already answered questions about his visit to the cemetery when he 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 organizations there.
“And I was accompanied by very many other people who were at a conference searching for peace.”
There was no independent verification that the pictures published by the Daily Mail did in fact disprove the denial issued by Corbyn’s spokespeople.
The report appeared a day after Corbyn came under fire when video emerged of him appearing to compare Israeli military rule in the West Bank to the Nazi occupation of European countries during World War II.
EXCLUSIVE – In 2013 @JeremyCorbyn spoke at an event hosted by the Palestinian Return Centre in which he made a direct comparison between Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Nazi occupation of Europe during WW2. Watch until the end… pic.twitter.com/POMfsX5APq
— The Golem (@TheGolem_) August 10, 2018
In the short clip, which was shared by Twitter user The Golem, Corbyn says Palestinians in the West Bank live “under occupation of the very sort that would be recognized by many people in Europe who suffered occupation during the Second World War, with the endless road blocks, imprisonment, irrational behavior by the military and the police.”
The video was said to have been filmed at a 2013 event held by the Palestine Return Centre, when Corbyn was a relatively unknown Labour MP.
A spokesperson for Labour pushed back at criticism Corbyn was comparing Israel to the Nazis.
“Jeremy was describing conditions of occupations in WWII in Europe, of which there are multiple examples, not comparing the Israeli state to Nazis,” Sky News quoted the spokesperson saying.
The comments are only the latest round in a long-running crisis for the party, with a constant stream of members and prominent officials being forced out or chastised for making anti-Semitic and virulent anti-Israel comments, and Corbyn himself criticized for tolerating and/or being part of the problem. The fracas has seen excoriation from rabbis, including Britain’s chief rabbi, as well as from some of Labour’s own MPs, charging that the party and its leader seem unable or unwilling to decisively excise anti-Semitic members and sentiments from Labour’s ranks.
At the heart of Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis is the party’s refusal to adopt in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, instead leaving out four of the 11 examples included in the definition. All four relate to unfair singling out of Israel or questioning the loyalty of Jews who support Israel.