Did Jeremy Corbyn visit the Knesset to free nuclear secret seller Vanunu?

Corbyn was deeply involved in efforts to secure the early release of Mordechai Vanunu, who was sent to prison in 1987 for selling Israeli nuclear secrets to the Sunday Times of London.

August 16, 2018 12:33
1 minute read.
Jeremy Corbyn

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in London, Britain, April 2, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS / HANNAH MCKAY)


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UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn may have visited the Knesset in 1998 to campaign for the early release of nuclear secret leaker Mordechai Vanunu.

Earlier this week, Corbyn came under fire when photos of him laying a wreath at the graves of the perpetrators of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre, together with a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was behind numerous terrorist attacks on Israelis. Then, despite the photographic evidence, his spokespeople said that Corbyn did not participate in the wreath-laying.

“I’ve met many people from the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, over the years, I’ve visited the Knesset, I’ve met visiting Israeli delegations when they’ve been to Britain,” Corbyn said on UK’s Channel 4 News on Tuesday, when asked if he ever put a wreath for Israeli terror victims or shared a platform with Israeli government members.

The Jerusalem Post’s archive has one mention of a meeting between Corbyn and a member of Knesset in Israel, on April 19, 1998.

At that time, Corbyn was deeply involved in efforts to secure the early release of Vanunu, who was imprisoned in 1987 for revealing Israeli nuclear secrets to The Sunday Times of London.

Corbyn, who was a joint vice-chairman of the Human Rights Group of the British Parliament, met with then-Knesset State Control Committee chairman and Labor MK Yossi Katz.

Katz had arranged for Vanunu to be removed from solitary confinement.

While the article did not specify where the meeting took place, it may have happened in the Knesset.

Katz told the Post on Thursday that he did not remember the location of the meeting, and said it could have taken place in Tel Aviv as well.

“I didn’t realize it was Corbyn,” Katz said. “It was a member of the opposition – I won’t say he’s eccentric – but someone who was fighting for Vanunu. It was an okay conversation.”

Corbyn and his co-chairman, Lord Avebury, along with actress Susannah York, requested to visit Vanunu and attempted to deliver a petition to then-president Ezer Weizman to pardon him. Weizman did not meet with the group.

In 2004, Corbyn, York and others greeted Vanunu upon his release from Ashkelon’s Shikma Prison.

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