Appearing on BBC Question Time last night, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt. Hon. Greg Clark MP, called on the Labour leadership to act “absolutely decisively” over the “virus” of anti-Semitism, amid the latest anti-Semitism controversy engulfing the party.
Mr Clark said: “I’m sad that the Labour Party whose traditions have always been to combat racism should be going through this. I think it’s right that Jeremy Corbyn should be required to act absolutely decisively, because if you don’t and you see it in other countries around the world, if you let it fester, it will grow and it will become even worse in the future”.
The Communities Secretary added: “What we know about anti-Semitism over the years, is that it’s a virus – it is never suppressed and eradicated completely. It emerges from time to time, in different countries at different moments in different guises. As soon as it appears it has to be crushed very decisively because it will happen again and again”.
In the most high-profile incident yet of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, it emerged this week that Bradford West MP Naz Shah called for the State of Israel to be removed from the Middle East and “relocated” to the United States. In a u-turn, the Labour Party announced that Ms Shah was to be suspended from the party by the General Secretary: “Pending investigation, she is unable to take part in any party activity and the whip is removed”.
Yesterday, the former Labour Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was suspended for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute after stating in a BBC radio interview that “Hitler was supporting Zionism”.
Speaking in defence of Naz Shah MP, Mr Livingstone said: “Hitler was supporting Zionism… Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”. He added that Naz Shah was the victim of a “well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby”.
Leading the condemnation, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It is quite clear that Labour has a problem with anti-Semitism… it’s now totally apparent”. He underlined that anti-Semitism is “unacceptable in a modern political party”.