A furore over alleged anti-semitism in Britain’s main opposition party widened on Monday when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn exchanged accusations on Twitter over Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed.
Britain’s right-leaning Daily Mail on Friday reported that Corbyn, on a visit to Tunisia in 2014, had laid a wreath at the graves of members of a Palestinian group that killed 11 Israeli athletes and a German policeman at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
It said the cemetery houses a memorial to the dozens killed in the 1985 Israeli bombing of the Palestine Liberation Organisation headquarters in exile in Tunis, as well as the graves of members of Black September, a PLO splinter group that carried out the Munich attack.
It published a photograph it said showed Corbyn standing near the graves of Black September members.
Labour said Corbyn, a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, was in Tunis to honour the victims of the 1985 raid.
Unimpressed, Netanyahu said in a tweet:
“The laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorists who perpetrated the Munich massacre and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone – left, right and everything in between.”
The Labour Party said Corbyn did not lay a wreath at the graves of anyone linked to Black September and he condemned the Munich attack. Corbyn however told reporters on Monday: “I was present when (a wreath) was laid, I don’t think I was involved in it,” adding that the visit was a peace-seeking exercise.
Despite deep divisions in the Conservative government as it negotiates Britain’s exit from the European Union, Labour’s poll standing appears to have been damaged by the anti-semitism row.