The UK Labour Party’s Naz Shah, currently suspended from the party amid allegations of anti-Semitism, managed to meet and speak with local Jewish community members from Leeds and Bradford, despite an enforced change of venue. The event on Sunday evening – initiated by the Leeds Jewish Representative Council – was moved from the Orthodox Beit Hamidrash Hagadol to the Reform Sinai Synagogue following complaints about the gathering.
Shah admitted she was “ignorant about Judaism” when she made the anti-Semitic comments leading to her suspension. “It is my job in the Muslim Community to highlight the issues of anti-Semitism.”
“Going to Auschwitz is a fantastic idea but it won’t fix the problem. We need to educate the community.”
“It’s up to me to own the narrative,” she continued. “To have conversations with the Muslim community [about anti-Semitism] and that’s my responsibility.”
Shah explained that she came to this realisation after she was asked to apologize to the House of Commons and to the British Jewish community, something she described as a, “Politicians apology.”
“I looked at myself and asked whether I had prejudice against Jewish people. But I realised I was ignorant and I want to learn about the Jewish faith and culture. I do not have hatred for Jewish people.”
Despite her actions which led to her suspension, Shah insisted that she believes in Israel’s rights to exist and to self-defense, and that – contrary to former Bradford politician and rival George Galloway – she does not believe in Bradford being an ‘Israel-free zone.’