The disgraced Labour MP, Naz Shah, reportedly spoke at a rally where calls were made to “lift the curse of the Jews off the Muslims in Palestine!”
Footage has become available of the rally, held in May in Ms Shah’s home town of Bradford, in which speakers appear to beseech G-d to “make us part of the mujahideen in Palestine!”; “purify al-Aqsa from impure people!”; “make the earth quake under their [impure people’s] feet!”; and “make the Jews lose!”
Other chants included beseeching G-d to “lift the curse of the Jews off the Muslims in Palestine!” and “make Islam win!”
Ms Shah, who also serves as Labour’s Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion, urged demonstrators: “Don’t stop just here today. It must carry on, even when this stops. The year 2015 we all know what happened. We were here. This place was packed. And again we find ourselves here. It’s not unacceptable to be coming here time and time again because children are being killed.”
Ms Shah’s previous dalliances with antisemitism were so grave that they led to her suspension from the Labour Party even under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, has appeared in recent weeks to resent how she was held to account. She also recently shared a platform with Mr Corbyn but has not been disciplined, even though Mr Corbyn, like Ms Shah before him, was suspended from the Party for antisemitism.
The disgraced former Liberal Democrat MP, David Ward, was also reportedly present at the same rally. He lost his council seat in last month’s local elections, running as an Independent after being expelled by the Liberal Democrats in 2017 for standing against the Party in an election, having previously been disciplined for comments about Jews, the Holocaust and Israel.
Ms Shah is not the only Labour MP to have courted controversy in recent weeks. John McDonnell, the former Shadow Chancellor, encouraged his “Muslim constituents” in particular to come out to protest in demonstrations against Israel over the past month, seemingly stoking religious and communal divisions in the UK at a particularly vulnerable time for the Jewish community. He also promoted an antisemitic image in one of his tweets about a march that he himself attended.
Former Party Leader (and now Independent MP) Jeremy Corbyn addressed a rally where antisemitism was also on display. Mr Corbyn failed to condemn Hamas in his remarks, having previously described the antisemitic genocidal terrorist group as his “friends”.
Former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott spoke also spoke at a rally, describing it as a “great demonstration” even as it featured chants praising the massacre of Jews, Hamas-style headbands and antisemitic signs.
According to extensive research conducted by Campaign Against Antisemitism, the Parliamentary Labour Party and its leadership – including Sir Keir Starmer and Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy – have been particularly one-sided in its condemnations of Israel and have appeared to give Hamas a free pass for its responsibility for its latest conflict with the Jewish state, with many in the Jewish community concerned that the volume and vehemence of the one-sidedness coming from many MPs, particularly in the Labour Party, have contributed to an atmosphere conducive to the horrendous antisemitism recently witnessed on British streets and campuses, in hospitals and schools, online and elsewhere.
Beyond the Parliamentary Labour Party, numerous Labour councillors have also courted controversy in relation to the Jewish community and antisemitism in recent weeks as well. Among them were Kirk Master, Yusuf Jan-Virmani, David Owen and Puru Miah.
Cllr Master, Labour’s Assistant Mayor of Leicester and the city’s former Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, demanded that Jewish and Muslim faith leaders in Leicester sign a declaration to “condemn the killings of the innocent and Palestinian people.” He subsequently apologised.
Cllr Jan-Virmani, a Labour councillor in Blackburn, was suspended after making derogatory comparisons between Israelis and animals while referencing the antisemitic blood libel conspiracy theory in the council chamber and refusing to apologise.
Cllr Owen, a prominent Labour councillor in Blackpool, has reportedly been referred to the Party over social media posts he allegedly shared, including one quoting former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke and another comparing Israel to Nazis.
Cllr Miah, a Labour councillor in Tower Hamlets, was pictured standing in front of a sign with an antisemitic message comparing Zionism to Nazis (later disavowed by the council).
Meanwhile, Mohammed P Aslam, a former councillor on Nottinghamshire County Council has reportedly been suspended by Labour after comparing Israel to Nazis and making remarks about “Jewish treachery”. Louise Regan, the Chair of the same Constituency Labour Party – Nottingham East – has reportedly been reinstated after an investigation following her handling of a meeting at which a Jewish member felt that he had to leave due to the atmosphere.
In addition, Ruth George, the former MP for High Peak, was elected Deputy Leader of Derbyshire County Council, where she retained her seat in the recent local elections. Campaign Against Antisemitism has an outstanding complaint with the Labour Party against Ms George, who was challenged during the election campaign by a member of the public over her past antisemitic comments, for which she has apologised. In her response, she said: “You may wish to look into the political affiliations of the Campaign against Antisemitism and the ongoing complaints to the Charity Commission so you have a full picture.” The suggestion that those calling out antisemitism in the Labour Party had mendacious or political motives for doing so was highlighted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in its report on antisemitism in Labour as being part of the unlawful victimisation of Jews that took place in the Party.
Joe Glasman, Head of Political Investigations at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Despite being declared institutionally racist against Jews just six months ago by the EHRC, and notwithstanding the current special measures imposed on the Party to address its unlawful antisemitism, Labour MPs appear to have learned nothing.
“Too many have encouraged, attended and addressed rallies featuring antisemitic banners and chants, contributing to the atmosphere conducive to the rampant antisemitism, physical assaults on Jews and damage to Jewish property that we have seen in recent weeks. The condemnations by those same MPs of the antisemitism that they helped to unleash ring hollow and give no comfort to the Jewish community.
“Over the past month, it has been difficult to tell the difference between today’s Labour and the Party as it was under Jeremy Corbyn. Labour has managed to return to square one when it comes to antisemitism.”
The Labour Party was found by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to have engaged in unlawful discrimination and harassment of Jews. The report followed the EHRC’s investigation of the Labour Party in which Campaign Against Antisemitism was the complainant, submitting hundreds of pages of evidence and legal argument. Sir Keir Starmer called the publication of the report a “day of shame” for the Labour Party.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.