A British Labour Party lawmaker has apologized for “for any offense” caused by a Facebook post which called for the relocation of Israelis to the United States.
Naz Shah, a lawmaker from Bradford West, located in Yorkshire in northern England, shared a post of a graphic in which a small silhouette of the map of Israel is laid inside the map of the United States under a headline which reads “Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict – Relocate Israel into United States.”
The graphic adds that: “America has plenty of land to accommodate a 51st state;” “the transportation cost will be less than 3 years of defense spending,” and “Palestinians will get their land and life back.” It also says that: “Middle East will again be peaceful without foreign interference;” and “Oil prices will go down, inflation will go down, whole world will be happy.”
Shah, who is Muslim, adds her status to the post: “Problem solved and save u bank charges for 3 billion pounds you transfer yearly.”
The post was shared in 2014, before Shah was elected to the British parliament. It was first publicized on Monday on the Guido Fawkes British politics website. All of Shah’s Facebook posts from 2014 have since been deleted.
Shah released a statement Tuesday which said: : “This post from two years ago was made before I was an MP, does not reflect my views and I apologize for any offense it has caused.”
The Labour Party has declined to comment on the incident to British media, including the Guido Fawkes website. The party has come under fire in recent weeks amid a string of party scandals involving alleged anti-Semitism.
Shah in May 2015 elections defeated incumbent George Galloway, the leader of the tiny Respect Party who is known for his strident anti-Israel rhetoric. Prior to those elections Galloway had declared his district off-limits to Israelis, including tourists.
Shah is a member of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, which is investigating the rise of anti-Semitism in Britain.
The Jewish Chronicle also reported on Tuesday that Shah posted a tweet in August 2014, with a link to a blog which claims Zionism has been used to “groom” Jews to “exert political influence at the highest levels of public office,” and which compared Zionism to Al Qaida. The article, titled “Colonization, Israel, Palestinian resistance and…”, from a blog called Walk Together, claimed Zionism, “like Al Qaeda, was and is a political movement layered with religious symbolism.”
In July 2014, during Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, Shah posted a link on Facebook to a newspaper poll asking whether Israel had committed war crimes, according to the Jewish Chronicle. She wrote: “The Jews are rallying to the poll,” and called on her followers to vote “yes.”