An MP for the Scottish Nationalist Party with Jewish heritage has told of how she was told she was “an agent of Israel” and a “shameless MP willing to sacrifice freedom of expression to please their paymasters”.
Dr Lisa Cameron, the MP for East Kilbride, was speaking in a Westminster Hall debate on intimidation in public life on Tuesday, and recalled the 2015 incident as one of many abusive messages she had received.
She said the message continued, saying: “British politics must cleanse itself of this corrosive influence … Zionist corruption which has implanted its roots in pretty much every British Parliamentary party.”
Cameron said she was then called to a party meeting and “asked to explain that… I was not asked how I or my family felt about it, whether I was OK, whether we were coping. I was asked why the individual had said it”.
In the past she has written about members of her Jewish family fleeing Dresden and felt this explained the abuse, saying: “Obviously, I have a Jewish family background, which gives a link to why I was targeted, but I experienced no support.”
Two Conservative MPs also said they received death threats for their statements and positions in relation to Israel, including John Howell, the MP for Henley, who said he had been sent “more than 30 emails threatening me with death”.
He said the cue for the death threats “started with a UK boy, who was clearly pro-Palestinian, asking me what I made of the Israeli bombs falling on Palestine. I replied, ‘What do you make of the Palestinian bombs falling on Israel?’ For that I was put on a death list and my name was not taken off it.”
Andrew Percy, the Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole, commended Cameron for “a brave speech,” adding: “I hope she will not now be called in to explain that; such treatment is unacceptable.”
Percy, who converted to Judaism in 2017, said he had received abusive messages, including after a Holocaust Remembrance debate, while Labour MP Helen Jones said one of her colleagues had been accused of being “an agent of Mossad”.
It was a familiar accusation to Percy, who said: “The reason I left Twitter was that after a visit to Israel I was accused of being an agent of Mossad, being paid in shekels, wanting to murder Palestinian children, and all the rest of it.”