Jeremy Corbyn has said he will not apologise for attending an event which included the honouring of a Palestinian suspected of involvement in the Munich Olympics massacre, in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed.
“No, I’m not apologising for being there at all,” he said on Tuesday afternoon.
Labour MP Luciana Berger has demanded Corbyn say sorry for his presence at the wreath-laying in 2014.
Speaking to broadcasters today, Corbyn said he did lay a wreath but it was to commemorate those killed in a 1985 Israeli air raid on the PLO offices in Tunis – not Munich suspects.
“I was there when the wreaths were laid – that’s pretty obvious. There were many others there that were witness to that, I witnessed many other people laying many wreaths,” the Labour leader said.
“I laid one wreath, along with other people, in memory of all those who died in the awful attack 1985.
“Yes there are other people in that cemetery, as there are indeed in many other cemeteries.”
Yesterday, Corbyn admitted he was “present” when a wreath was laid to honour the men behind the 1972 Munich attack, but did not “think” he was “actually involved in it”.
Berger said Corbyn’s explanation was not good enough. “Being ‘present’ is the same as being involved,” she tweeted.
“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?”
The row escalated on Monday evening after Benjamin Netanyahu said Corbyn deserved “unequivocal condemnation”.
Corbyn hit back in the Twitter spat, saying the Israeli prime minister was making “false” allegations and attacked his policies in Gaza.
Labour MP Chris Williamson, an ally of Corbyn, defended the Labour leader. “People are clutching at straws trying to smear and demonise Jeremy Corbyn - the same thing happened with Nelson Mandela,” he told BBC Radio 4 today.
Speaking to Labour members in Walsall last night, Corbyn hit out at the “mainstream media newspapers” for how the party was covered in the press.