Does Jeremy Corbyn harbour sinister views – or is he the unluckiest man in the world? That’s the question being asked today after the Labour leader gave an interview to Sky News after allegations he attended a wreath-laying ceremony in Tunisia in 2014 for members of the terrorist group behind the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.
The official Labour line had been that Corbyn was paying his respects to the victims of a 1985 Israeli airstrike on Palestinian Liberation Organisation offices in Tunis. However, today he appeared to change tack. The Labour leader admitted he was present when a wreath was laid but added that he did not ‘think’ he was ‘involved’ in the actual wreath-laying. Instead, he wanted to see ‘a fitting memorial to everyone who died in every terrorist incident everywhere’.
Not helping matters is the fact that there are photos of Corbyn holding a wreath during the visit and appearing to move it somewhere. He also said last year that he did lay a wreath on his Tunisia trip. Perhaps there were multiple wreaths going in multiple directions and Corbyn happened to be near the wrong wreath at the wrong time?
However, the problem is that the incident fits into a trend of Corbyn being in the wrong place at the wrong time regarding allegations of anti-Semitism. Luciana Berger, the Jewish Labour MP, has said the specifics don’t even matter – 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 and support.’ One thing is clear: Labour’s anti-Semitism problem is not going away.