Jewish peer attacks Labour for having a "very particular problem" with antisemitism


A Jewish peer has accused Labour of having a “very particular problem” with antisemitism.

Baroness Neuberger said that the case of Naz Shah MP, who was suspended from the party on Wednesday over controversial social media posts, illustrated the extent of anti-Jewish feeling among the hard-left.

She told BBC’s Newsnight programme: ““I think Labour does have a problem with antisemitism.

"That's not to say that other parties haven't got problems with antisemitism, or that it isn't elsewhere.

"But Labour has a very particular problem, and a particular problem at the moment.

"I think the Naz Shah case illustrates that.”

Ms Shah, MP for Bradford West, had called for Israelis to be “relocated” to the US and appeared to compare Israeli policies to those of Hitler. She apologised for the comments in a speech in the House of Commons.

Acknowledging it was the first time she had publicy attacked Labour over antisemitism, cross-bencher Baroness Neuberger said: “It is an issue with the hard-left.

“It has to be legitimate to criticise Israel but when 'Zionist' is used instead of the word Jew, that is not about Israel, that is about Jews.

“This particular kind of antisemitism is a conflation of the using the word 'Zionist' for to mean 'Jew', and the praise of Hitler, that really is very shocking.”

Labour peer Lord Levy told Newsnight he was “scratching his head in despair” at the state of the party.
He accused the Labour leadership of dithering over whether to suspend Ms Shah.

“It has taken too long for them to take this action, they dithered at the beginning, talk of a statement being changed,” the peer said.

“This must be dealt with in a proactive way, those in the Labour Party coming out with this disgusting verbiage must not be tolerated.”

He said it was "crucial" the leadership "stamp the problem out".

Shadow minister Luciana Berger condemned Ms Shah’s comments. In a tweet, she wrote: “If I shared a racist post would that be ok? No. Never.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive