Newly unearthed video shows Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon saying “Zionism is the enemy of peace” despite his repeated claims to the contrary in an interview on the BBC last year.
Appearing on the Daily Politics Show in March 2018, the Labour MP insisted claims he had said the phrase were false, adding “that’s not my view”.
But footage from a 2014 Labour meeting discovered by investigative journalist Iggy Ostanin, shows Burgon delivering a passionate monologue, saying: “The enemy of the Palestinian people is not the Jewish people. The enemy of the Palestinian people are the Zionists.
“And Zionism is the enemy of peace and the enemy of the Palestinian people.”
In a statement, Burgon said he regrets using the phrase “Zionism is the enemy of peace” but “did not recall doing so” when interviewed last year.
He added: “As I have subsequently said on numerous occasions when asked about this, I do not agree with that phrase.
“I recognise that such a phrase fails to distinguish between those seeking a peaceful solution in line with international law, and those, such as the current Israeli government, which is undermining efforts towards peace.”
Zionism, the political movement for the establishment of a Jewish state, frequently comes under fire from the Left, particularly around Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
But controversy arises when criticism of the Jewish state’s policies bleed into wider criticism of Jews in general, with many who claim to be anti-Zionist actually perpetuating anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories.
The video adds to the ever-growing controversy around alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, which erupted after the Labour leader appeared to lend his support to a mural depicting apparently Jewish bankers playing a game of Monopoly on a table that rested on the naked backs of several workers.
On Saturday it was revealed Corbyn had privately expressed concern that evidence of anti-Semitism in his party has been “mislaid or ignored”.
He made the comments during a secretly recorded meeting with MP Dame Margaret Hodge, the Sunday Times reported.
Corbyn was speaking in February as he outlined his intention to appoint former Cabinet minister Lord Falconer to review the party’s complaints process, the newspaper said.
The newspaper quoted Corbyn saying: “The point of him (Falconer) is that he will look at the speed of dealing with cases, the administration of them, and the collation of the evidence before it is put before appropriate panels and things.
“Because I was concerned that evidence was either being mislaid, ignored or not used and that there had to be some better system.”