Labour MP urges Corbyn to apologise to widows for Munich terrorist wreath-laying

Joan Ryan calls Labour leader's participation in ceremony 'deeply disturbing'


The parliamentary chair of Labour Friends of Israel has said she was "deeply disturbed" by Jeremy Corbyn attending a ceremony to honour the terrorists behind the 1972 Munich massacre, and urged him to “offer a full and unreserved apology” to the widows of the Israeli athletes whom they murdered.

In a letter sent to Mr Corbyn on Monday, MP Joan Ryan also noted "some discrepancy" between Mr Corbyn's press team, who insist he attended the ceremony in Tunis in 2014 only to honour people killed in a 1985 air strike, and Mr Corbyn's own words at the time, which referred to people who died later, including members of the Black September terror group. 

She also contrasted his attendance of the Tunis ceremony with his failure to take up a long-standing invite to visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum and memorial in Jerusalem.

"The contrast between that failure and your trip to Tunis is a stark one, and I would suggest that you may wish to consider the message that it sends to the Jewish community in Britain and the people of Israel,” she wrote.

The wreath-laying ceremony in Tunis included honouring Palestinians who had been assassinated by Mossad in 1992, who had been part of the Black September terror group who had planned the Munich massacre, abducting and killing 11 Israeli athletes.

After photos of the ceremony were published in the Daily Mail, Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, the widows of Andre Spitzer and Yossef Romano who were among the 11 to be murdered, condemned Mr Corbyn’s “act of maliciousness, cruelty and stupidity”.

Despite Mr Corbyn’s own description of the event at the time and the newly published photographs, Mr Corbyn’s press team denied his involvement in laying wreaths in front of the graves of the terrorists, with one tweet from Labour’s press team claiming that “The Munich widows are being misled.”

Ms Ryan wrote that the photos of the event and an article Mr Corbyn wrote for the Morning Star at the time contradict this claim. Mr Corbyn wrote wreaths were laid "at the graves of those who died on that day [in 1985] and on the graves of others killed by Mossad agents in Paris in 1991".

She said: “I believe it is imperative that you urgently address this issue and make clear whether or not you were honouring Black September terrorists and, if so, what part of this organisation’s bloody record you believe it is appropriate for a British parliamentarian to seemingly endorse.

“More importantly, the widows of some of those who were so brutally murdered at Munich have expressed their disbelief and sadness that you appear to have participated in an event at the graves of their husbands’ killers.

“Even if your participation was inadvertent, I would urge you to offer a full and unreserved apology to the families of the victims of Munich. Whatever our different perspectives on the Israel-Palestine conflict, I am sure that, on a human level, you would wish to reach out to them publicly to express your regret at adding to their suffering."

On Monday, Mr Corbyn conceded the ceremony did pay tribute to members of Black September.

He told Sky News: "A wreath was laid by some of those who attended the conference for those who were killed in Paris in 1992."

When asked whether he was "involved", he said: “I was present when it was laid, I don’t think I was actually involved in it.

"I was there because I wanted to see a fitting memorial to everyone who’s died in every terrorist incident everywhere because we have to end it. You cannot pursue peace by a cycle of violence. The only way you pursue peace is a cycle of dialogue.”

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