SNP MP Tommy Sheppard was so angry about Israeli prime minister Netanyahu’s visit to London last September that he went to Downing Street to demonstrate.
That demonstration quickly turned into a swaggering display of atrocious antisemitism, with Hezbollah banners flying. You can see ample video evidence in this post. Here’s part of it. “Blood-drinking swine” and calls for Israel’s annihilation:
One might hope that Mr Sheppard, a new MP, would learn from this. Don’t mix with haters. Don’t lend them your support. In the name of your party no less.
Or Mr Sheppard could learn from the Gerald Kaufman fiasco.
It was rather predictable, really, with veteran Israel haters Kaufman, Andy Slaughter, Martin “Tentacles” Linton, and the Hamas front known as the Palestinian Return Centre involved. Stay away from people like this. Simple.
Or Mr Sheppard could heed the words of some his fellows.
More than 30 MPs have signed a Parliamentary motion noting the links between rising antisemitism in Britain and violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
It acknowledged that the single biggest contributing factor to the growth of Jew hatred in 2014 had been the Gaza conflict.
Philippa Whitford, Scottish National Party MP for Central Ayrshire, tabled the Early Day Motion on Wednesday.
The motion affirmed “that antisemitism has no place in campaigns of solidarity with Palestinians” and emphasised that protests against governments and their policies should continue while “ensuring this avoids spilling over into group-blame or racist stereotyping”.
MPs said they wanted to make a clear distinction between the Jewish community and those responsible for deciding Israeli government policy.
By Thursday morning the motion had been signed by 26 SNP MPs, Conservative Peter Bottomley, and Wes Streeting, Luciana Berger, Mark Durkan and Margaret Ritchie from Labour.
But no, it seems Mr Sheppard is not a man for learning or heeding, or at least not yet. On 17 November he will host the Palestinian Return Centre in Parliament. The very group treated to Kaufman’s outburst.
One of the speakers at that event will be Karl Sabbagh. Sabbagh is a fan of Gilad Atzmon, one of the worst antisemites on the planet. The CST covered him here:
More recently, Sabbagh contributed a recommendation to the back cover of Gilad Atzmon’s latest book, The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics:
“The Wandering Who? is as witty and thought provoking as its title. But it is also an important book, presenting conclusions about Jews, Jewishness and Judaism which some will find shocking but which are essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and the role they play on the world stage.”
We have written about Atzmon’s book previously, here and here. We described it as “quite probably the most antisemitic book published in this country in recent years”, a judgement we stand by. Atzmon attacks “Jewishness”; praises what he calls “Jewish self-haters”; claims the credit crunch was a Jewish conspiracy; and argues that in the future people might think Hitler was right about the Jews.
Is this what the SNP is really about? Hosting this man and and a Hamasnik band? Surely Mr Sheppard should think again and cancel the meeting.
The signs aren’t good, mind you. As the refugee crisis worsened this summer, where did Mr Sheppard’s thoughts turn? Israel, of course. Seriously.
That this House condemns the abysmally low proportion of non-Jewish, African asylum seekers who have been granted refugee status in Israel…
As if Israel didn’t have enough trouble on its hands already, on top of the obvious security concerns. Nasty.
He’s good at being a fool too, it seems.
Addressing his views on Hamas — which was also accused of war crimes in the last Gaza war — Sheppard said he thinks the terrorist organization needs to be part of the conversation about Middle East peace. Sheppard himself shies away from using the EU-designated term “terrorist organization” as a label for Hamas: “They represent a significant strand within Palestinian opinion and they have to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.” He opines that if Hamas were involved rather than ostracized, Palestinian rockets on Israel could be stopped.
Surely Edinburgh deserves better than this. Doesn’t it, Mr Sheppard?