Unlike liberal Zionist groups such as the Jewish Labour Movement, the Zionist right-wing have nothing further to gain from Naz Shah‘s public apology, suspension for alleged antisemitism and willingness to be ‘re-educated;’ they want to ensure she is branded an unreformable extremist – not just ‘anti-Israel,’ but a Muslim extremist that shouts Allahu Akbar.
Conservative Friends of Israel today uploaded a post to their website, ‘NAZ SHAH MP REVEALED TO HAVE ATTENDED SERIES OF ANTI-ISRAEL PROTESTS,’ based on a Daily Mail article, ‘Proof that Labour MP’s anti-Israel outburst was anything but a one off.’
In a tone more suited to a high-profile exposé, the Daily Mail tells its readers that Shah,
Playing dead with her children on the floor of a fast-food restaurant […] it can be revealed… mother-of-three Miss Shah was part of a group that mounted a string of protests against Israel.[…] Miss Shah also co-ordinated protests at Sainsbury’s and Tesco, and carried a coffin at a pro-Palestine rally where she was filmed chanting: ‘Shame on you.’
The group stormed the Bradford restaurant, chanting: ‘Allahu Akbar.’ They staged a number of protests at the branch and smeared ketchup across the premises, according to activists. Footage shows activists chanting: ‘Free, free Palestine.’ It is not known whether Miss Shah joined in the chanting or smeared ketchup. The previous day – August 3 – the group had staged a protest at a Tesco store over its stocking of Israeli produce.
There are some wonderful, inspiring images of Shah showing her solidarity with Palestinians. They date from summer 2014, when Israel killed over 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children.
The latest attack on Naz Shah makes two things abundantly clear: in the eyes of pro-Israel lobby groups and press, her crime is an outspoken support for Palestinian human rights, including direct action. And while the Labour Israel lobby will be appeased once she publicly disavows her principled opposition to Israel, she is not likely to ever shake off her reputation in the mainstream media as a Muslim antisemite calling for the destruction of Israel.
A Board of Deputies of British Jews spokesman told the DM that Naz Shah was,
clearly involved in a lot of unacceptable activities’ but had shown ‘a significant amount of remorse, which, if proven to be genuine, must count in her favour.
The strategy of appeasing Zionists is always doomed: most of the accused begin by protesting their innocence while simultaneously accepting the premise that antisemitism is rife – in their Party or community – and vowing to confront and stamp it out. But as Shah quickly discovered that isn’t enough, and under pressure she appeared to confess to having been antisemitic; she is now undertaking a ‘journey‘ that will only be complete in the eyes of her new Zionist defenders once she has disavowed her wholehearted solidarity with Palestinians.
Shah’s case is an instructive one. Public figures known for their support of the Palestinian cause have one option if they are not willing to be publicly humiliated: insist that they are committed to combatting all forms of racism, of which Israeli apartheid is an egregious example, and express sadness that their words have been misinterpreted, providing the context for their remarks missing from hostile media reports. Zionist lobbies across the political spectrum will be outraged and never cease in their attempts to smear the target of their witch-hunt, but at least the hunted will retain their integrity, and win the respect – not pity – of genuine anti-racists.