Ed Miliband silent on Labour front bencher who encouraged store thuggery

This is a cross post from Adloyada

Shabana Mahmood is a Labour Shadow Front Bencher. She’s Shadow Labour Treasury Exchequer Secretary with responsibility for tax and growth policy. Following the trashing of a local Tesco store in Birmingham Hodge Hill, she today put out a pious statement deploring the violence, along these lines:

“It’s an important right in this country to be able to air ones views and to think and say what we like without fear of violence or retribution. “Peaceful demonstrations and protests play a large part in that and I have been on my fair share. “Shoving people, intimidating people and throwing things as I am told happened by a small group of people at the Hodge Hill Tesco on Saturday are not the actions of people committed to taking part in a peaceful protest movement. It’s criminal behaviour that damages the cause that we fight for. “There are a plethora of views around the boycott and sanction movement and Israel but I have been clear from the start. I support proper labelling of goods that have been produced in the illegal settlements as per the DEFRA guidelines and personally chose to boycott those supermarkets that stock goods from those areas. But my choice is a peaceful one – I make my point with my wallet and my words. I hope others in Birmingham who support boycotting goods produced in the illegal settlements choose the same.”

But just over a week ago, she was saying something very different, urging the very supermarket thuggery she now distances herself from, as the Communist Morning Star was proud to report: FRONTBENCH Labour MP Shabana Mahmood called on activists at the weekend to take direct action against British firms that do business with Israel — lauding the success of a Birmingham protest which shut down a Sainsbury’s branch for five-and-a-half hours. Ms Mahmood, the party’s shadow exchequer secretary to the Treasury, made the plea at a 150,000-strong rally for solidarity with the people of Gaza on Saturday. She told crowds in London’s Hyde Park:

“Just as powerful as our passion is the practical action we can all take to make our government sit up and take notice. She pleaded with demonstrators to support the boycott movement and to lobby their MPs She said: “We lay down in Sainsbury’s in Birmingham and closed down a store for five-and-a-half hours at peak time on a Saturday. “The bombing must be condemned without equivocation.”

And of course even the apparent condemnation of violence she’s now switched to still parades her encouragement of active boycotting of”settlement” products. Which in practice in terms of the actions of those she urges means all goods produced in or wrongly associated with Israel.

Lib Dem MP David Ward and Respect MP George Galloway have rightly been very widely condemned for explicit and implicit support of violence, thuggery and blanket discrimination against Israelis and anyone who supports Israel.

But Shabana Mahmoud is on record as having encouraged a huge crowd of angry protesters to take the very action she now piously distances herself from, and she’s attracted none of the opprobrium and condemnation heaped on Ward and Galloway.

One particular silence is noticeable. There’s not been a word from Ed Miliband about Shabana Mahmoud and her encouragement of physical thuggery and boycott action against UK supermarkets stocking Israeli products. It’s noticeable that almost all the supermarket thuggery actions which have hit the headlines in the UK have happened since she made her inflammatory speech on 11th August in front of the angry demo crowd

Time to ask him some very tough questions about his front bencher who says one inflammatory thing in front of an angry crowd of protesters, and quietly issues a pious press statement from her office, distancing herself from the direct action against supermarkets she’d previously encouraged, but still encouraging individuals to boycott Israeli goods.

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