“I’m not anti-semitic, I’m anti-Zionist” is an ever more popular refrain – particularly given the disturbing resurgence of the Left’s most acceptable form of racism.
It’s a deliberately deceptive bit of semantics, but today’s scandal involving Naz Shah, the Labour MP who defeated George Galloway in Bradford West last year, reveals quite how bogus it is.
Guido revealed this morning that, less than a year before becoming an MP, Shah shared a graphic on Facebook which she described as “problem solved”. The “problem”? The existence of Israel. Her solution? Relocating Israel to the US, through mass transportation of Israelis.
It isn’t hard to see why, for Jewish people in particular, the prospect of “transportation” conjures up some unpleasant images. This is the poisonous reality of “anti-Zionism” – opposing the existence of the state of Israel either means a) allowing her genocidal enemies to wipe her out (as they have tried before) or b) denying millions of Israeli Jews their home and deporting them, a practice legally known as ethnic cleansing. Anti-Zionism isn’t disagreement with the policies or practices of the Israeli Government, it’s an objection to the existence of Israel in itself. Declaring “I’m not anti-semitic, I’m anti-Zionist” doesn’t place you in a more moral or attractive position than that of an anti-semite.
In a way, Shah has done us all a favour by providing a vivid example of quite how hateful this belief is, and how absurd its illogic can become. Take for example one of the claims in her graphic about the supposed benefits of ethnically cleansing Israel: “[The] Middle East will again be peaceful without foreign interference.” Seriously? Apparently the issues in the region are nothing to do with the various brutal dictatorships, the failing or failed states, the warlords, the theocracies or the proliferation of violent extremists – oh no, the problem is the existence of a single, solitary democracy. Get rid of it and the whole area will settle down. Ok.
In case Shah’s views aren’t yet completely clear, there’s more. In July 2014, she called for “action” on a Daily Mirror poll about allegations of Israeli war crimes – “The Jews are rallying to the poll”, she announced, urging people to take part in response. Note: not “Israelis”, not “Zionists”, nor “people who disagree with me” – “the Jews”. This was mere months before her election.
Inevitably, there’s an attempt underway to rescue her from the consequences of her own behaviour. She has apologised “for the hurt I have caused” (rather than for, you know, holding the opinions) and has resigned as John McDonnell’s PPS. However, she still sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee, which is currently conducting an inquiry into anti-semitism, and retains the Labour Whip. If Labour really mean it when they claim to take such hatred seriously, she should lose both.