Labour MP, Lisa Forbes, who won the much-watched Peterborough by-election on Thursday is facing mounting criticism from within her party over liking an allegedly anti-Semitic Facebook post in the past.
It was revealed this week that Miss Forbes had liked a post saying that soon-to-be-gone Prime Minister Theresa May was morally compromised by a “Zionist Slave Masters agenda.”
In another, Miss Forbes appeared to entertain the idea that the Daeshi terrorist group is a creation of Israel, saying that she “enjoyed reading” a social media thread making that a claim.
It’s a sad state of affairs, when voters aren’t too fussed about anti semitism.— Trebuchet Kid (@Trebuchet_Kid) June 7, 2019
It tells us all we need to know about them.
Following her by-election victory, in which she defeated the nascent Brexit Party’s candidate by a narrow margin of 683 votes, Forbes said that she found anti-Semitism “abhorrent.”
Despite that statement, many expressed their concern over Miss Forbes’ appointment, and the state of alleged anti-Semitism within the Labour Party more generally.
Ilford North MP, Wes Streeting, has been quoted as saying that he has “given up any hope that the Labour leadership is serious about tackling anti-Semitism.”
“They're welcome to prove me wrong. I haven't given up hope that the new MP for Peterborough can be true to her apology. Based on everything else I know about her I really hope she does,” Mr Streeting reportedly added.
Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips wrote on Twitter: “Lisa ignored and endorsed anti-Semitic things, I'll take her explanation and apology at face value & look forward to her proving as others have that actions not excuses alone can heal. But with every case the parties values chip away and our ability to stand up against hate erodes.”
Lisa ignored and endorsed anti-Semitic things, I'll take her explanation and apology at face value &look forward to her proving as others have that actions not excuses alone can heal. But with every case the parties values chip away and our ability to stand up against hate erodes— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) June 7, 2019
Former Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, who repeatedly disagreed with the way that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has handled the anti-Semitism crisis plaguing the party, Tweeted that, “Seriously mixed feelings about the Peterborough result. I never want to see Nigel Farage's party in Parliament. But Lisa Forbes & the Labour Party have a lot to answer for. We must learn lessons & never have a repeat of this. Have formally raised concerns with party leadership.”
Seriously mixed feelings about the Peterborough result. I never want to see Nigel Farage’s party in Parliament. But Lisa Forbes & the Labour Party have a lot to answer for. We must learn lessons & never have a repeat of this. Have formally raised concerns with party leadership.— Margaret Hodge (@margarethodge) 7 June 2019
The Jewish Labour movement have also made their concerns clear, Tweeting an official statement on the result of the Peterborough by-election.
“Labour has consistently failed to take a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Jewish hate. This has encouraged a culture to develop where not only is it acceptable for someone who has shared racist material and rejected the internationally IHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] definition of antisemitism to be a member, but they can advance politically and gain public office,” part of the Tweet reads.
JLM's statement on the result of the Peterborough by-election. pic.twitter.com/zEpYc2XAy4— Jewish Labour Movement (@JewishLabour) June 7, 2019
The UK Labour Party has been embroiled in a crisis since 2016 which has seen senior MPs accused of engaging in anti-Semitism. Leader Jeremy Corbyn established the Chakrabati inquiry in 2016 to investigate the state of racism within the party’s ranks. It found that while Labour was not “overrun by anti-Semitism or other forms of racism,” there was what it described as an “occasionally toxic atmosphere” and “clear evidence of ignorant attitudes.” Mr Corbyn himself has faced a series of allegations alleging that he sympathises and associates with anti-Semites, including particular Palestinian terrorists, who openly call for the killing of Jewish people. Most recently, senior Labour figure, Pete Willsman, was suspended from Labour for claiming that the party had been infiltrated by Israeli agents.
“The rich control the papers. The rich control everything else and they know [Corbyn] going to make them pay taxes. One of the things about anti-Semitsm is that they're using that to whip people up. They use anything. It's all total lies,” Willsman says in a recording recording that was made of his statements.
He goes on to state “off the record" it's "almost certain" who's behind "all this antisemitism against Jeremy…the Israeli embassy.”
“They caught somebody in the Labour Party. It turns out they were an agent in the Israeli Embassy. My guess would be they are the ones whipping it all up,” he adds.