Labour MP attacks Jeremy Corbyn over picture with boss of banned Palestinian group

Posted On: 
16th August 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire from a senior Labour MP after he was pictured with the boss of a proscribed Palestinian group that said a deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue was justified.

A spokesperson for Labour said Mr Corbyn was "completely opposed to attacks on civilians"

Joan Ryan, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, demanded an apology from the Labour leader after a 2014 photograph emerged of him standing beside Maher al-Taher, the exiled leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The PFLP - which was placed on a terror blacklist by the European Union in 2002 - praised the killing of four Jews at a synagogue in Jerusalem a month after Mr Corbyn was pictured with the group's leader.

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A statement on the group's website at the time described the attack as "a natural response to the ongoing racist policies and crimes of the occupation," adding: "No place in Jerusalem should be safe so long as the Palestinian people are not safe."

Ms Ryan urged the Labour leader to apologise to the family of rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, who moved to Israel from London in the 1990s and was among the victims of the 2014 attack.

She told the Evening Standard: "First he appeared to be honouring the Munich terrorists, now it seems Jeremy Corbyn was standing alongside a man whose killers murdered a British rabbi and three others after morning prayers a month later.

"I would appeal to Jeremy directly: please apologise now to the bereaved families who have been so hurt and offended by your participation in this terrible event."

The late rabbi's widow, Brianna Goldberg, meanwhile told The Times: "Jeremy Corbyn should absolutely not be associating with men like that. They kill to satisfy their political needs. He needs to come to Israel to see how things really are."

The image of Mr Corbyn with the PFLP chief comes from the same Tunisian conference at which people accused of the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics were allegedly honoured.

The party has said Mr Corbyn did not take part in laying wreaths on the graves of any of those accused of having links with the Black September group behind the attack.

A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn said: "Jeremy attended the conference convened by the President of Tunisia to support Palestinian rights and to bring together Palestinian factions to unite for a peaceful and just settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

"He is, of course, completely opposed to attacks on civilians."

Conservative peer Lord Sheikh has meanwhile become embroiled in a row with his Tory colleagues for his own attendance at the 2014 gathering.