British Labor MP apologizes for 'relocate Israel to US' post

Facebook post by Naz Shah emerges that suggests the "relocation" plan accompanied by the text "solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict."

April 26, 2016 15:33
2 minute read.
Naz Shah

British Labor MK Naz Shah. (photo credit: TWITTER)

A lawmaker from the British Labor party has apologized after it emerged that before becoming an MP, she had suggested relocating Israel to the US.

British media reported on Tuesday that Labor parliamentarian Naz Shah issued an apology after her social media post from 2014 was brought to the spotlight.

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In the post revealed by the website Guido Fawkes, Shah published a graphic on Facebook that suggests the "relocation" plan accompanied by the text "solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict." The graphic shows a map of the United State with an inlaid outline of Israel pictured in the middle of the North American country.

"Problem solved and save u bank charges for £3 BILLION you transfer yearly!," Shah wrote in the caption to the post republished by the UK's Independent.

The post "highlights" a bullet-point list of reasons detailing the benefit of the hypothetical plan, which includes the text: "Palestinians will get their land and life back."

According to British media, Shah admitted on Monday that she was responsible for the Facebook post.

“This post from two years ago was made before I was an MP, does not reflect my views and I apologize for any offense it has caused,” read a statement issued by the Labor member from Bradford West.

After news of her controversial post emerged, Shah resigned as an aide to one of Labor's top officials.

According to British media reports, Shah will no longer serve as parliamentary private secretary to the party's shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

However, the Independent cited an official from the UK's Campaign Against Anti-Semitism as suggesting that Shah's remarks amounted to anti-Semitism. He also asserted that the apology was not enough.

“One cannot simply apologize for 'any offense caused' and expect evidence of gross and brazen anti-semitism to disappear,” the Independent quoted the campaign's communications director, Jonathan Sacerdoti, as saying.

All of Shah’s Facebook posts from 2014 have since been deleted.

The Labor Party has declined to comment on the incident to British media, including the Guido Fawkes website.  The party has come under fire in recent weeks amid a string of party scandals involving alleged anti-Semitism.

Shah, in May 2015 elections, defeated incumbent George Galloway, the leader of the tiny Respect Party who is known for his strident anti-Israel rhetoric. Prior to those elections Galloway had declared his district off-limits to Israelis, including tourists.

Shah is a member of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, which is investigating the rise of anti-Semitism in Britain.

The Jewish Chronicle also reported on Tuesday that Shah posted a tweet in August 2014, with a link to a blog which claims Zionism has been used to “groom” Jews to “exert political influence at the highest levels of public office,” and which compared Zionism to al-Qaida. The article, titled “Colonization, Israel, Palestinian resistance and…”, from a blog called Walk Together, claimed Zionism, “like al-Qaida, was and is a political movement layered with religious symbolism.”

In July 2014, during Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, Shah posted a link on Facebook to a newspaper poll asking whether Israel had committed war crimes, according to the Jewish Chronicle. She wrote: “The Jews are rallying to the poll,” and called on her followers to vote “yes.”

JTA contributed to this report.

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