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July 19, 2016 9:54 am

Reinstated Labour MP Denies Antisemitism, Acknowledges Use of Antisemitic Language

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British MP Naz Shah, pictured, told BBC Radio 4 that she is not antisemitic. Photo: Facebook.

British MP Naz Shah, pictured, told BBC Radio 4 that she is not antisemitic. Photo: Facebook. – British Member of Parliament (MP) Naz Shah — who was suspended in April from the Labour Party for suggesting that Israel should be relocated to the United States as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and was later reinstated — told BBC Radio 4 that she is not antisemitic, but admitted she had used antisemitic language.

Shah’s initial comment sparked an antisemitism scandal that resulted in the suspension of at least 50 other Labour members and extended to former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who was suspended for saying in a BBC interview that Hitler had supported Zionism.

In the new radio interview, Shah reflected on “how stupid I was and how ignorant I was” when she made her comment about relocating Israel. She said, “The truth is that some of the stuff I have since looked at and understood, I didn’t know at the time.”

“I didn’t get antisemitism as racism,” said Shag. “I had never come across it. I think what I had was an ignorance….And I had to really question my heart of hearts. Yes, I have ignorance, yes everybody has prejudice, subconscious biases, but does that make me anti-Semitic? And the answer was no, I do not have a hatred of Jewish people.”

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  • Jay Lavine

    Part of overcoming anti-Semitism is realizing that Jews are not an ethnic group as the unfortunate term “anti-Semitism” implies: Judeophobia is not racism except in the eyes of racists. Jews are a people, yes, but a people defined by their faith and by the way of life they choose to follow. They come from all races, colors, nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures. People who express hatred of Jews, however, do consider them to be members of an ethnic group or race, and this was the basis for persecuting Jews during the Nazi era, viz., the whole racial classification system — Mischlinge, e.g.

    Ignorance is indeed a root cause of Judeophobia, and it is also a cause of obsessional hatred of Israel — the result of closed-mindedness and being exposed to only one side of the story. The remedy is not tours of Yad Vashem nor is it hasbara, which is often euphemistically translated as public diplomacy. PR is largely deception, and, as the Torah commands, “midvar sheker tirchak.” The answer is education using evenhanded and credible sources of information, presenting Israel as it truly is, warts and all. If one’s cause is just, and that of Israel certainly is, one has nothing to fear from the truth.