Paul Flynn MP's repetition of antisemitic garbage is dangerous and needs to be addressed
John Mann MP tells of his horror in learning of Paul Flynn’s repetition of untrammelled, antisemitic garbage in Parliament
In 2009 when Sir Oliver Miles, Her Majesty’s former Ambassador to Libya, questioned the propriety of having Sir Lawrence Freedman and Sir Martin Gilbert sit on the Iraq war inquiry panel because of their Jewish heritage and ‘Zionism’, he questioned the loyalty of British Jews and their suitability for public service.
This accusation of dual loyalty sits well amongst anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, but of course is more complicated to explain than a base curse.
Sadly, little minds on the internet shared the story and it took root. Perhaps it was this that inspired Stuart Littlewood to suggest in the Palestine Chronicle online that “Many will feel it is intolerable for a Christian country like Britain to be represented by a Jew”.
His reference was to British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould, a former scribe of Robin cook and seasoned diplomat. This insidious remark is as offensive to me as would be the suggestion that avowed catholic, Francis Campbell could not have represented Britain to the Holy See – a job he did with distinction.
It was to my horror, that I read Paul Flynn’s repetition of this untrammelled garbage in Parliament.
According to Flynn, Matthew Gould is “unique in some ways in the role he is performing” and should be replaced by “someone with roots in the UK”. The idea that people should be judged fit for office by their race or religion is disgusting and racist. That Paul Flynn tried to laugh the matter off by referring to his Jewish friends and love for Israel fundamentally misses the point.
I am pleased he has now apologised, it was the right thing to do and he should have done so earlier.
John Mann MP is the Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism. He Tweets at @JohnMannMP
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