We have seen lots of eye-rolling and frustration from Jeremy Corbyn this week as he has had to (rightly) face some pretty straightforward questions from the press.
Photographs from a wreath-laying ceremony in 2014 have emerged which Corbyn has claimed were solely to commemorate those killed in a 1985 Israeli air strike. However, the photos have showed two, distinct moments – one of Corbyn hovering at the back of the 1985 memorial, and another, at a different location by the graves of senior PLO leaders reputedly involved with the Black September faction in the 70’s – the very people who organised the massacre and torture of Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich in 1972. It’s in this location which shows Corbyn holding a wreath.
So with Corbyn’s claim that it was to only commemorate 1985 clearly not true; where does this leave him?
His following have been quick to shriek ‘media conspiracy’ and ‘Jeremy is being smeared.’ These are the same people who believe that the Labour Party does not have a problem with anti-Semitism – something which is also a ‘smear concocted by the media,’ despite all of the evidence and hurt from the Jewish communities. There have also been Corbyn supporters on social media who have suggested that claims of anti-Semitism have been made up by Jewish people ‘who control the media and our banking system.’ Yes I know, it sounds like something taken from 1930’s Germany.
Aside from his following who believe he can do no wrong, many people are asking why stories keep emerging of Jeremy’s links with terrorist groups including the IRA, Hamas, Hezbollah and now, Black September. Indeed my inbox this week has been full of local residents expressing their outrage. Now Corbyn and his supporters are frustrated that questions about these links are being asked. Why? Because he is stuck between telling the truth about what he really believes; or appearing as if he could still appeal to the centre ground. The reality is, he should go with the former as he’s kidding no one.
As Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian this week, Corbyn hasn’t sat on the fence or acted as an ‘even-handed negotiator’ in these previous conflicts. He hasn’t been a ‘healing conciliator’ between two warring factions. On the Israel/Palestine conflict, he has been on the side of ‘eradicating Zionism’ (Freedland cites the stated goal of the Labour Movement Campaign for Palestine which Corbyn was a sponsor). And on Northern Ireland, he was firmly on the side of republicanism, not unionism. He has even had meetings with individuals in the House of Commons connected to the IRA, one of whom was convicted to six years in prison for bomb making.
Therefore Jeremy Corbyn needs to be honest. He should stop appearing as if he is in denial about his strong record of activism on particular sides of conflicts. The public can see through this and actually, it makes him who he is. It also what many people admire about him and why he has a following who will not accept any criticism or bad words said against him.
So come on Jeremy, don’t roll your eyes at the media who are paid to hold us politicians to account. Be honest about what you really believe.