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Azhar Ali Being Treated By Labour and The Media As a Figurehead of Labour’s Anti Semitism

The media and political reaction to Azhar Ali’s statements about Israel at a recent Labour Party meeting, culminating in Labour rescinding their support of him as a candidate MP on Monday, the 12th of February, is the latest part of a long saga of Labour being accused of racism and antisemitism.

According to the BBC, “Labour had stood by Mr Ali when he claimed Israel had allowed the 7 October attacks by Hamas as a pretext to invade Gaza. But it changed position after Mr Ali apparently also blamed Jewish media figures for fueling criticism against a pro-Palestinian Labour MP.”

The Guardian claims that Labour’s withdrawal of support for Ali as a Labour candidate is due to “the Daily Mail approach[ing] Labour with more comments that Ali had made, including a suggestion that Israel deliberately relaxed security after warnings of an imminent threat.”

The BBC, however, claims that after Ali made his alleged statement at a Labour party meeting that Israel “allowed” Hamas’ attack on 7th October 2023 to happen, Labour continued supporting Ali, with Shadow Minister Symonds sayingthe prospective MP understood the ‘gravity of the offence that has been caused’ and had ‘unreservedly apologised’.”

Symonds continued arguing for sustained Labour support of Ali, claiming that Ali “had ‘fallen for a conspiracy theory’ but that there was a need to ‘do a tremendous amount of work to rebuild trust with the Jewish community’.”

The Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement said, "Azhar Ali's comments are totally reprehensible, but this close to polling day, electoral law says he will be Labour's candidate, whatever Starmer says or does now."

Furthermore, the Board of Deputies of British Jews stated, "Were it not too late to do so, we would have called on Labour to replace Mr. Ali as a candidate. 

“It is clear to us that Mr. Ali is not apologising out of a genuine sense of remorse."

Keir Starmer has appointed Martin Forde KC to investigate allegations of bullying, racism, and sexism.

The Guardian quotes Forde as saying “the party’s change in position in response to Ali’s ‘very inflammatory’ and ‘clearly antisemitic’ remarks ‘appears shambolic’.”

The Guardian continues, “When asked if Labour should have withdrawn support Ali at the point the comments first surfaced in the Mail on Sunday, Forde said: ‘That to me would be the sensible thing to do.’...

Forde added: ‘I’m aware, from discussions with some of the MPs within the party who might be described as more left-leaning, that they feel when it comes to disciplinary action taken against them, things move rather slowly, but if you’re in the right faction of the party, as it were, then things are either dealt with more leniently or more swiftly.’”

The Guardian has approached Labour for comment, and the BBC has approached Ali himself for comment, with no answers so far.

Instagram/UK Parliament. - Keir Starmer. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)


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