THE BLOG

An Apology to the Jewish Community

27/04/2016 12:15
© West Yorkshire Images / Alamy

I am sorry.

For someone who knows the scourge of oppression and racism all too well it is important that I make an unequivocal apology for statements and ideas that I have foolishly endorsed in the past.

The manner and tone of what I wrote in haste is not excusable. With the understanding of the issues I have now I would never have posted them. I have to own up to the fact that ignorance is not a defence.

The language I used was wrong. It is hurtful. What's important is the impact these posts have had on other people. I understand that referring to Israel and Hitler as I did is deeply offensive to Jewish people for which I apologise.

When the 'Gaza-Israel' conflict happened I played an active role in highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people, attended demonstrations to stop the bombing and called for equality in media reporting of the issues. Feelings were running high across the world and Bradford was no different. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I'm shocked myself at the language I used in some instances during the Gaza-Israel conflict. For this I apologise.

Since winning the seat of Bradford West I have made conscious efforts in areas around integration, building bridges and community development, in particular around Muslim and Jewish relations. Indeed one of my very first visits was to my local synagogue.

Only last week I was learning and sharing over an interfaith Passover Seder with Senior Rabbi Janner-Klausner, The vice chair of Conservatives Friends of Israel, Andrew Percy MP, and others at the rabbi's home. We all read from the 'Haggada' (the order of the service), and learnt more about Passover.

I have been asked to consider joining the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) on British Jews because of the work I'm doing locally which includes building relations through my local synagogue.

If politicians put their hands up when they get something wrong it would help to restore faith in politics. I hope that by writing to those who I have hurt, I am practicing as I preach and calling myself out.

For those that I have caused hurt to, particularly the Jewish community, my constituents, friends and family, I sincerely hope my intentions and actions from here on in will win back your trust and faith in me. For my part I promise to have open and honest conversations about such issues and invite others to do that with me.

Naz Shah is the Labour MP for Bradford West

This blog also appears on JewishNews.co.uk

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