|From the Daily Mail, 11 August 2018|
Having been propelled from backbench obscurity to the Labour leadership, Jeremy Corbyn has come under intense scrutiny for his previous associations and opinions, and he and his supporters have become embarrassed and enraged by the revelations. His loyalists call the revelations smears, or Tory smears, or Blairite smears or Zionist smears. The implication is that they are made up to discredit him by his enemies - after all, that's what a smear is, a false accusation against a public figure brought out in a dirty tricks campaign against an honourable man who cannot be damaged by the truth, and who can only be brought down by lies.
The trouble is, over his long political career as the go-to MP for left-wing and radical causes, Corbyn has thrown in his lot with individuals and organisations that any sensible politician would avoid like the plague. Career politicians are careful who they are associated with, who are seen with and how they appear. I had such a colleague who wouldn't even be photographed at a party with a glass of wine in his hand. Corbyn had no such concerns because he did not seek power. He was a permanent protester and oppositionist. He did not want office. He was always on the outside. So he never scrupled about who he was seen with.
There is another factor in Corbyn's carelessness. He is not stupid and he's articulate and winning on public platforms addressing his supporters, but when he comes to dealing with criticism and opposition, which is the stuff of politics, he is slow on his feet. He is not a subtle or well-informed thinker. It never occurred to him that one day his dodgy connections may come back to haunt him.
And day after day they do, the most extraordinary list of support for terrorists, holocaust deniers and anti-Semites, all well documented because he never thought there was anything wrong with them and never did anything to hide what he did.
Corbyn in Tunis
The latest revelation is that in 2014, Corbyn laid a wreath on the graves of Black September terrorists behind the 1972 Munich Massacre - a step too far even for some of his devoted fans.
The Munich Massacre, in which terrorists took eleven Israeli Olympic team members hostage and killed them, along with a West German police officer, was one of the most horrible attacks perpetrated by Black September, a terrorist arm of Fatah. It happened before many of Corbyn's supporters were born, so it's worth recounting.
While Israeli athletes slept in the Olympic village in Munich, eight heavily armed men scaled a fence in the village and used stolen keys to enter the apartments of the Israeli team. After killing two athletes, one of whom they castrated, they held the remainder hostage and demanded the release of 234 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails - and also the release Andreas Bader and Ulrike Meinhof, founders of the West German terror gang, the Red Army Faction.
The German response was bungled, and the authorities offered the kidnappers a safe exit if they released the hostages, but in the ensuing chaos, the athletes were murdered. The victims were
Moshe Weinberg, (wrestling coach) aged 33
Yossef Romano, (weightlifter) aged 32
Ze'ev Friedman (weightlifter), aged 28
David Berger (weightlifter), aged 28
Yakov Springer (weightlifting judge), aged 51
Eliezer Halfin (wrestler), aged 24
Yossef Gutfreund (wrestling referee), aged 40
Kehat Shorr (shooting coach), aged 53
Mark Slavin (wrestler), aged 18
Andre Spitzer (fencing coach), aged 27
Amitzur Shapira (track coach), aged 40
Anton Fliegerbauer (West German police officer), aged 32
Several of the terrorists also died in the attack. After the events at Munich, Israeli prime minister Golda Meier secretly authorised Mossad to track down and kill the remaining Fatah operatives responsible for the massacre.
Labour Party sources insist that Corbyn did not honour the perpetrators of the Munich Massacre and that the 2014 service he attended in Tunis commemorated Palestinians killed in an Israeli air strike on a PLO base in 1985.
There are two questions to consider here.
Where was Corbyn standing during the commemoration ceremony?
What has he himself said about it?
The answers to both questions prove conclusively that Corbyn honoured Salah Khalaf, the founder of Black September, and Fakhri al-Omari, its head of operations who masterminded the Munich Massacre.
Where was Corbyn standing?
The Daily Mail published photos of the ceremony showing Corbyn standing under an awning. Daily Mail journalists visited the location where the photo was taken and found that the victims of the Israeli air strike were several metres away, and that a plaque where Corbyn stood commemorated Salah Khalaf, his key aide Fakhri al-Omari, and Hayel Abdel-Hamid.
Khalaf was a leading member of Fatah and was expected to be Yasser Arafat’s successor. He is said to the be founder of Black September, the terrorist organisation which, according to some authorities, was the hand of Fatah, which wished to distance itself from operations of the kind that Black September carried out. Fatah regards the perpetrators of the Munich Massacre as heroes and martyrs.
Al-Omari was, according to Fatah, the head of Black September’s department of operations and assassinations who came up with the idea for the Munich Massacre and was directly responsible for the squad that carried it out.
Abdel-Hamid was a member of the Fatah central committee and its head of security.
These men were directly responsible for the Munich Massacre, and they were later killed in an internecine Palestinian dispute by the Abu Nidal organisation.
What did Corbyn say?
Corbyn wrote about his visit in the Morning Star newspaper, saying, "After wreaths were laid at the graves of those who died on that day [of the Israeli air strike] 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."
There were no Mossad assassinations in 1991 and Corbyn is clearly misinformed. He may well have been deliberately misinformed by his hosts that Khalaf, Al-Omari and Abdel-Hamid had been killed by Mossad, and not the Abu Nidal group, in order to get his sympathy. But he must have known that they were Black September members and he may well have known that they were responsible for the Munich Massacre.
Corbyn can be forgiven for not being familiar with the intricacies of Palestinian resistance politics and for not reading a commemorative plaque in Arabic, and it is possible that he was was hoodwinked by his hosts, but he cannot, as the leader of the Labour Party, be forgiven for being naiv and gullible, careless of whom he associates with and failing to make the most basic enquiries about whose grave he is laying a wreath on.
I remember Jeremy Corbyn in the 1980s. He was known as the MP you went to to get support for any and every left-wing cause. If you had a campaign that no other politician would support, Corbyn was your man, no questions asked. No wonder he got involved with some unsavory people.
The endless stream of stories about his extreme and anti-democratic connections indicates that he doesn’t really care who they are or what they have done, even if they put a wreath in his hand and told him to lay it on the graves of the Munich murderers – or at least he didn’t care before he was leader of the Labour party.
These are not the qualities of the leader of a major political party, far less those of a prime minister.