Naz Shah reinstated by Labour after ‘anti-Semitism’ row – but what will she do now?

Naz Shah won the Bradford West seat for Labour in 2015 [Image: BBC].

Naz Shah won the Bradford West seat for Labour in 2015 [Image: BBC].

There was never any doubt that Naz Shah would be reinstated as a member and an MP by the Labour Party.

Words she published in anger two years ago, that were taken out of context and used against her in April, could never have been taken as a serious indicator of innate anti-Semitism.

It is right that she should apologise for bringing the party into disrepute. This arises from the fact that publication of her words in April was likely to lower the party in the thinking of the public generally.

I mean, if somebody told you a person in public office had said such things – and you knew nothing else about the matter – you’d think the same, wouldn’t you?

The really interesting questions around Ms Shah are all about what she will do now.

The political landscape has changed hugely since she was suspended.

Ken Livingstone spoke up in her defence and was himself suspended for bringing Labour into disrepute. Will she speak up for him in turn, or throw him to the wolves?

And what about the current troubles in the Parliamentary Labour Party? Ms Shah had been John McDonnell’s Parliamentary assistant – will she declare support for him and Jeremy Corbyn? Or will she join the mutineers?

Those of us who defended her against her accusers have expectations.

It is worth noting that, even reporting her reinstatement, the BBC could not get the facts right about why she was suspended in the first place.

The claim that one of the offending comments was “suggesting Israel should be moved to the United States” is inaccurate. She had published a satirical image showing Israel superimposed onto a map of the USA, which had been created in response to a plan for Palestinians to be forcibly transported to another Arab country – Jordan or Saudi Arabia.

The message was that the people proposing particular solutions to the conflict between Iraelis and Palestinians would never accept having such solutions imposed on them.

But that was lost in the hysteria.

Nobody seems to want to mention the image of the black man she posted, along with the quotation, “Everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” At the time, media people like Vanessa Feltz (for example) took it as an indication of support for the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. In fact, they were the words of civil rights legend Martin Luther King, and referred to the fact that an action can be legal, yet still be wrong.

The only comment she made that could be construed as anti-Semitic, once the context was known, was her claim that “the Jews are rallying” to vote in an online poll on the legitimacy of the violence between Israelis and Palestinians in mid-2014. And this may be attributed to the fact that she was posting in anger at the thought that people were trying to legitimise the bloodshed.

Ken Livingstone remains under suspension for his attempts to defend Ms Shah.

He has many enemies.

One wonders whether the result of his case will be as fair.

Bradford West MP Naz Shah’s suspension from the Labour Party has been lifted.

Ms Shah was stripped of the parliamentary whip in April over comments about Israel she made online, including one suggesting Israel should be moved to the United States.

In a Commons statement she said she “regretted” the posts, which were made in 2014 before she became an MP.

She was reinstated following a meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee earlier on Tuesday.

She was given a formal warning, told to apologise for bringing the party into disrepute and warned that if there was another incident she would be expelled.

Ms Shah also quit her role as a Parliamentary assistant to shadow chancellor John McDonnell after the comments came to light.

The comments triggered a wider row over alleged anti-Semitism within the party and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has faced criticism for his handling of anti-Semitism rows that have engulfed the party in recent months.

Appearing before the Commons Home Affairs Committee on Monday, he condemned Ken Livingstone’s controversial claims that Adolf Hitler initially backed Zionism, which the former London mayor made amid the row over Ms Shah’s comments.

Mr Livingstone, who was suspended as a result of his comments, has had his case referred to Labour’s National Constitutional Committee.

Source: Labour Party reinstates Bradford West MP Naz Shah – BBC News


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8 thoughts on “Naz Shah reinstated by Labour after ‘anti-Semitism’ row – but what will she do now?

  1. Zippi

    Vanessa Feltz misrepresentation and subsequent gloating, whilst continuing to report Ken £ivingstone’s comments out of context were loathesome, shameless and obnoxious. I wanted to write to her but what wold have been the point. I have no respect for her, whatsoever, because she showed no respect for the truth and not only deliberately misled her listeners and others but lied, on air, about Naz Shah. Disgusting, despicable behaviour. The truth was not difficult to uncover yet, none of the official commentators, including those within the £abour party, was interested in the truth. one has to ask ones self why.

  2. Pip

    No state should ever identify itself with a specific creed/culture/race/religion. It’s a lesson we all should have learned, and it only ends in disaster.

    Criticism of Israel is just and necessary. That is not criticism of the Jewish faith. Many jews rightly (and powerfully) speak out against Israel’s treatment of others. I refer to Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews Sans Frontieres as examples. These are the voices we should be hearing.

    Israel is a state with a political machinery. As such, and just as with any other political entity, it’s actions are sure to be oberseved, discussed and criticised. When those actions result in terrible injustice, even more so.

    It is the duty of everyone to speak out where they see injustice, persecution and imposed suffering, the hysterical denial of others notwithstanding. Keeping quiet is not an option.

    Never again should mean never again. Not to Jews, not to Palestinians, not to Libyans, not to anyone.

    It makes me very sad that it’s so difficult for some people to see.

  3. mohandeer

    Vanessa Feltz made a fool of herself by not knowing the context of MLK’s words, she was suddenly a dumb blonde, dozy Sheila and total ditz all rolled into one. As for the issue of anti-semitism, well now, should any one minority have a monopoly over discrimination to the extent that Jewishness does? Surely any and all discrimination should be the focus rather than only a select group receiving “special treatment and recognition”, is that not in itself a form of discrimination? When Cameron wrote to the Imams about hate preachers, (twice) whom the majority of Imams abhor, was he not in fact targeting them for the sins of a few in a totally discriminatory way? Where is their voice? Many of our Muslims are from Arab extraction and therefore semite in origin, why is this not at the fore of discussion also? Why is Islamaphobia, so prevalent among many MP’s not being a huge issue? Why is it that only one minority have been allowed to hijack the issue of discrimination, is it because the Tories have done so much to support Israel(Hammond) that the left is being abused and pilloried? So many people are thinking it and even saying it, to the point at which people are turning against the source of this monopoly. There is such a thing as overplaying one’s hand to the detriment of the desired result – it’s happening – a lot! Those who are contriving to stick the knife in really need to scale it down a notch or two, because stabbing Jeremy and his supporters in the back has brought many thousand to his defence – we Brits always side with the underdog. The situation is strengthening the resolve AGAINST those who wish to receive “special” treatment. The people pursuing this issue to fever pitch need to get it under control before it does irreversible harm and the tide turns the wrong way. Let us eradicate discrimination rather than invent it.

    1. Zippi

      Aye. I asked, if anti-Semitism is racism, why is it not just called so and dealt with as such? What other people has its own class of racism? what of the other Semitic peoples? If anti-Semitism is religous hatred, why is it not called so and dealt with as such? There are many groups who suffer religious persecution, it is neither new, nor exclusive to Jews, or to Judaism. One has to ask that, if this singling out for “special” treatment is breeding such resentment, is it deliberate and if so, to what end?

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