Over-zealous attacks on Israel 'anti-semitism by proxy', says Labour MP Chris Bryant

The shadow leader of the House of Commons said Labour members should not question Israel's right to exist

Jon Stone
Tuesday 29 March 2016 09:13 BST
Labour MP Chris Bryant
Labour MP Chris Bryant

Over-zealous attacks on the state of Israel can amount to “anti-Semitism by proxy” and have no place in the Labour Party, a shadow cabinet member has said.

Chris Bryant, Labour’s shadow leader of the House of Commons, said that some Labour supporters were responding to the plight of the Palestinian people with an “all-out attack” on Israelis.

Writing in The Times newspaper, the MP said that while Israel was far from “blameless” in the conflict there was a danger that anti-semetism would prosper in the party’s midst.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is a strong supporter of Palestine

“We argue that much of what the Israeli government does is both wrong and self-defeating — but too many people on the left in British politics are allowing their concern for the Palestinians to become an all-out attack on Israelis,” he wrote.

“Questioning the very existence of the state of Israel is a not-too-subtle form of anti-semitism.”

Mr Bryant is listed as a supporter of both Labour Friends of Israel and Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East.

Recent months have seen Labour suspend a number of its roughly 400,000 members for alleged anti-Semitism.

The issue has risen up the political agenda since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader on the back of his past activism in support of Palestine.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said last week that members who held such views should be banned from the party for life.

“Out, out, out,” the shadow Chancellor told The Independent. “If people express these views, full stop they’re out.”

Lord Levy a Labour peer with close ties to Tony Blair threatened to quit the party last week unless the leadership sent a “clear message” that it would not tolerate such racism.

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