Suspended Labour MP Naz Shah is to speak at a synagogue this weekend – her first public event in the Jewish community since revelations about comments she made on Israel sparked widespread condemnation.
The Bradford West politician apologised profusely after the Guido blog revealed she shared a post endorsing moving Israel to America and suggesting the “transportation costs” would be worth it, at the height of the Gaza conflict in 2014 before she entered the House. Adding the words ‘problem solved’, she suggested she would lobby for the plan.
Following a series of private meetings with community leaders, she is now set to address an a public gathering of community members from Leeds, Bradford and Harrogate at Beth Hamidrash Hagadol shul in Leeds this Sunday.
A spokesman for the Leeds Jewish Representative Council, which organised the event, acknowledged that news of the event had been met with a “range of opinions” but insisted it hadn’t been a difficult decision to invite the MP. “She’s apologised in Parliament and in private to leaders of the Bradford and Leeds Jewish communities,” she said. “Her comments insulted the community locally and nationally. As a local politician, it’s appropriate she apologises directly. Many people have questions to ask and here’s no reason they shouldn’t have the opportunity to do so. It’s much better this is done in this forum rather than social media.
“She has the courage to come into the synagogue and it would be wrong when there is so much common between Jewish and Muslim communities to turn our backs on someone who wishes to apologise. It’s not the Jewish way. We hope something positive will come from this and there will be a greater temperance of language by her and others.”
In a message to the Jewish community carried by the Jewish News, she said: “The language I used was wrong. It is hurtful. What’s important is the impact these posts have had on other people.” Shah has held several meetings with the Jewish labour Movement’s Jeremy Newmark in recent weeks.