This is part of the infamous “eye-rolling” interview with a channel four reporter. If nothing else, it shows where he's coming from. It also reveals Jeremy Corbyn’s limited grasp of the Israeli Palestinian situation
“I’m not apologising for being there at all. I went to a conference to try and promote peace in the Middle East. I remembered those that had died in an attack on Tunis, by the Israeli Air force, which was condemned by the whole world and I’m sure Luciana would also condemn that attack. It was unprovoked, it was wrong, (gulp) and by killing Palestinian people there - did that advance the course of peace? Of course it didn’t.
Do you consider attacks on Palestinians by Israel to be acts of terror?
They can be acts of terror, depending on the circumstances. I’ve seen. Houses. In Gaza. Where families had lived, that had been bombed by targeted bombing, by Israeli jets, where women and children have died, who, clearly, could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be called a threat to anybody. And it Has to Stop!
Does that mean you consider the Israeli government to be a terrorist organisation, almost?
No. What I’m saying is, their policies are wrong, in relation to…. this siege of Gaza and in relation to its settlement policy and the occupation of the West Bank. Surely, if there’s to be peace, then there has to be recognition … of the right of Palestinian people to live - alongside - the state of Israel.
If you happen to notice any odd punctuation in the above transcription, it's supposed to represent Corbyn's confected exasperation. The exaggerated eye-rolling, nodding and pronounced ‘staring’ is sending mixed signals;
Corbyn’s supporters like to assume this ‘body language’ simply denotes exasperation at the obtuseness of the interviewer. In a way, it does. He’s saying “What part of Israel’s malevolence / and the Palestinian people’s innocence don’t you understand?”
He sees things this way because of his romanticised attitude towards Islam and his mistaken assumptions about the Israeli position. He has simplified the Israeli / Palestinian conflict to suit his own limitations. He seems to have dumbed it down, reducing it in his mind to a callow matter of good versus evil. At the same time, theatrical performances like this denote insecurity. He's vaguely aware that he’s on shaky ground. He doesn’t really know the background to the situation (can I get away with asserting that the PLO incident was unprovoked?) and he’s slightly afraid he’ll be caught out. You can easily see him deflecting when he abruptly ramps up the ante and starts attacking, with that aggressive, confrontational bluster about ‘bringing peace’.
Some obvious points.
1.) How can commemorating ‘those that had died’ (members of the PLO) by laying a huge wreath be seen as ‘promoting Peace'? This might look a little more convincing if he were to lay an equally elaborate wreath in honour of any Jewish victims of violence, but in any case, wreaths can’t resolve bitter conflicts; specially if you’re only doing it for one side.
2.) The incident clearly wasn’t unprovoked.
“On October 1, 1985, In response to a PLO terrorist attack which murdered three Israeli civilians in Cyprus, the Israeli air force carried out Operation Wooden Leg.
3.) “The whole world condemned the attack*”. Maybe, but ‘the whole world's’ condemnation of Israel is nothing new, and beside the point, (which is that an ostentatious wreath-laying ceremony cannot be construed as promoting peace)
*“Though initially labeling the strike a “legitimate response to terror,” the Reagan administration later said the attack “cannot be condoned.”
4.) Of course Corbyn has been shown bombed houses in Gaza where women and children have died. That’s a customary part of Palestinian propaganda. People do die in war, but “half-the-story” justifications have little to do with promoting peace.
5.) "Women and children can’t be called a threat to anybody?" That’s clearly nonsense.
6.) “Their policies are wrong.” Only Israel’s policies?
7.) "Siege (!) of Gaza, the occupation, settlements". Fatuous, cliché ridden, context-free and lazy.
8.) “If there’s to be peace - there has to be recognition … of the right of Palestinian people to live - alongside - the state of Israel”.
But, but - it's the 'Palestinian people' who won't recognise Israel as the Jewish state!
What is Jeremy Corbyn’s actual vision of peace? The peace-loving, benevolent Palestinian Arabs of his imagination living happily ever after alongside a Jewish state - or one (Islamic) state in which Jews are rapidly outnumbered and subsumed. Someone should insist we're told.