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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