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April 28, 2016 12:56 am

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Disastrous’ Leadership Called Into Question Over Handling of Naz Shah Scandal

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Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn's leadership is being called into question over allegations of antisemitism within his party. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is being called into question over allegations of antisemitism within his party. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The head of Britain’s Labour Party is being “forced out on a limb politically” after a party member who made antisemitic statements calling for the relocation of Israel to the US was not immediately suspended from her post, a policy expert told the Algemeiner on Wednesday.

“The issue about the Labour Party’s antisemitism has been raging for some months, and despite denials, it has been getting worse and more public,” Dr. Denis MacEoin — a Senior Fellow at the conservative think-tank the Gatestone Institute and member of the British Israel Coalition — told the Algemeiner. “Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is a disaster, and moderate Labour members and supporters know that, so long as he is leader, Labour will not win another election.”

MacEoin called Corbyn a “Trotskyite” and said his “very far left…views do not match those of traditional Labour.” He added, “It is interesting that, although Corbyn has put his foot in it several times, it is the antiemitism revelations and his inability to address them that have exposed him to the most criticism since he took over as leader.”

On Wednesday, Corbyn rejected calls by shadow Energy Secretary Lisa Nandy to suspend MP Naz Shah after social media posts from before Shah was elected surfaced saying Israel should “relocate to the US.” Nandy told the BBC’s “Daily Politics” program earlier in the morning that Labour should “suspend anybody who makes antisemitic comments, in line with our policy, and investigate them.” Corbyn later suspended Shah following pressure from within Labour and from British Prime Minister David Cameron.

On her Facebook page Shah had shared a map of Israel superimposed onto the US under the headline “Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict – Relocate Israel into United States,” adding her own comment: “Problem solved.” The post claimed that Americans would “welcome Israelis with open arms” and that making Israel the 51st state would allow Palestinians to “get their life and their land back.” Shah ended her post with a smiley-face emoji and pledged to lobby the prime minister to adopt the plan.

Shah quit her position as a Parliamentary aide on Tuesday and issued an extensive apology, which was published by the UK’s Jewish News on Wednesday. In it, she wrote “ignorance is not a defense” and asserted that she now understands that “referring to Israel and Hitler as I did is deeply offensive to Jewish people for which I apologize.”

Following Shah’s apology, Corbyn issued his own statement: “What Naz Shah did was offensive and unacceptable. I have spoken to her and made this clear. These are historic social media posts made before she was a member of parliament. Naz has issued a fulsome apology. She does not hold these views and accepts she was completely wrong to have made these posts.” Corbyn’s spokesman added that Shah had “shocked herself” with her own comments and did not mean what she wrote. “We’re not suggesting she’s antisemitic. We’re saying she’s made remarks that she doesn’t agree with,” the spokesman said.

An editorial published in The Telegraph on Wednesday called Shah’s apology a “weasel-worded statement that all but confirms that she endorsed a quintessentially antisemitic position at the time.” The “most pressing” issue, according to The Telegraph, is how “Corbyn himself is friendly towards hateful groups seeking Israel’s destruction.” His handling of the Shah incident within Labour “speaks volumes about Mr. Corbyn’s disgustingly inadequate response” to antisemitism in his party, the editorial said. 

Marcus Dysch, a political correspondent and assistant news editor at the Jewish Chronicle, called out Corbyn’s handling of Shah in a series of posts on Twitter. He called Corbyn’s statement “pathetic” and “utterly shameful” and said Labour has established “free reign for Jew hate in 2016.” Stephen Pollard, editor at the Jewish Chronicle and a columnist at the Daily Express, also took to Twitter to condemn Corbyn and Shah.

According to a statement from Labour, Shah will undergo an investigation and “is unable to take part in any part activity” in the interim. 

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