Labour MP steps down over Israel comments

A Labour MP has stepped down from her position as aide to shadow chancellor John McDonnell after issuing an “unreserved” apology for a social media posting in which she appeared to endorse the relocation of Israelis to the US.

Bradford West MP Naz Shah said she “deeply regretted” the hurt caused by her comments and accepted there was “no excuse” for the offence they caused.

In a Facebook post in 2014, before she became an MP, Ms Shah shared a graphic which showed an image of Israel’s outline superimposed onto a map of the US under the headline “Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict — Relocate Israel into United States”, with the comment “problem solved”.

The post suggested the US has “plenty of land” to accommodate Israel as a 51st state, allowing Palestinians to “get their life and their land back”.

It said Israeli people would be welcome and safe in the US while the “transportation cost” would be less than three years’ worth of Washington’s support for Israeli defence spending.

Campaigners against anti-Semitism continued to raise concerns, with one group saying it would be “hard” to take an inquiry into anti-Semitism conducted by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee seriously if she remained a member.

In a second statement, Ms Shah said she was standing down from her unpaid role as Mr McDonnell’s parliamentary private secretary.

“I made these posts at the height of the Gaza conflict in 2014, when emotions were running high around the Middle East conflict. But that is no excuse for the offence I have given, for which I unreservedly apologise.”


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