Corbyn ally launches furious rant at BBC presenter for ‘smearing’ Labour leader by asking about wreath at graves of terrorist masterminds
- Photos show Mr Corbyn holding wreath near graves of those implicated in attack
- Claims he was there to commemorate 47 victims of an Israeli air strike in 1985
- He has refused to apologise for attending despite international condemnation
- Close ally Chris Williamson clashed with BBC presenter who pressed for answers
A close ally of Jeremy Corbyn has launched a furious rant at a BBC presenter for demanding answers about the Labour leader’s role in a ceremony where Palestinians linked to the Munich terror attacks were honoured.
Derby North MP Chris Williamson could not hid his anger as he was pressed on the details of Mr Corbyn’s involvement in the 2014 commemoration in Tunisia.
Newsnight host Evan Davis accused him of being ‘unable to answer’ whether Mr Corbyn had taken part in a wreath-laying for senior figures tied to the Black September terror group – which was behind the notorious massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.
But Mr Williamson accused him of fueling ‘smears’ against Mr Corbyn by pushing the issue – which surfaced when the Daily Mail obtained photographs of the event.
Derby North MP Chris Williamson could not hid his anger as he was pressed on the details of Mr Corbyn’s involvement in the 2014 commemoration in Tunisia
Told that he had not addressed the question, Mr Williamson sniped that Davis did not seem to ‘understand the answer’
‘It is going on because the BBC and other media outlets are playing into the hands of enemies of Jeremy Corbyn,’ the Labour backbencher said.
‘He was there to lay a wreath for the victims of the (Israeli) airstrike on the PLO headquarters in Tunisia at the invitation of the Tunisian president.’
Told that he had not addressed the question, Mr Williamson sniped that Davis did not seem to ‘understand the answer’.
Davis urged him to give a ‘true or false’ response to the question: ‘Did he lay a wreath on the graves of … members of Black September?’
When Mr Williamson again dodged, the presenter said: ‘It seems very odd to lay a wreath in this bit if the people you are commemorating are over there in another part of the cemetery.’
Mr Williamson said the media was being ‘deliberately obtuse’ by refusing to move on from the row.
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‘Some people are being deliberately obtuse and indulging in egregious smears against Jeremy Corbyn,’ he said.
‘It seems the media are obsessing about this and certainly Jeremy’s enemies are seeking to use this to try and destabilise him.’
Mr Williamson sparked anger yesterday by describing the Munich plotters as ‘alleged terrorists’.
He also compared the Labour leader to Nelson Mandela as both have been ‘demonised’ by the media.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World at One, Mr Williamson said: ‘He was there bit wasn’t involved in any ceremony relating to the alleged terrorists that has been suggested by various media outlets.
‘He’s holding a wreath but he was invited to participate by the Tunisian president in relation to the air strikes by the Israeli air force on the PLO headquarters there.
Jeremy Corbyn is seen posing with a wreath at the ceremony in Tunisia in 2014. The canopy he is standing under runs alongside the graves of Salah Khalaf, Hayel Abdel-Hamid, Fakhri al-Omari and Atef Bseiso, three of whom have been linked to Black September, the group behind the 1972 atrocity at the Munich Olympic Games
Jeremy Corbyn raises his hands in what appears to be an Islamic prayer position as he stands beside other politicians. A source said he was not praying but ‘copying the others out of respect’
‘Jeremy has spent his entire life campaigning for peace around the world and to try and suggest that in some way he supports violence is absurd.’
He said: ‘The neo-liberal establishment in this country are frightened to death of Jeremy coming to power because he will disturb the status quo and create an economy that is for the many not the few.
‘And I think to sink to this despicable level and make these absurd allegations against him shows how desperate they are.
‘People are clutching at straws seeking to smear and demonise Jeremy Corbyn.. It won’t work: they tried the same tactics with Nelson Mandela – the very self-same people demonised Nelson Mandela as a terrorist.
‘These smears are not cutting through, if anything they are stiffening support for Jeremy Corbyn.’
Asked why Mr Corbyn kept getting details mixed up, he said: ‘Can you remember precisely what you were doing several years ago.’
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