Labour MP resigns as PPS to John McDonnell after ‘relocate’ Israel post

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Labour MP resigns as PPS to John McDonnell after ‘relocate’ Israel post

Naz Shah apologises for saying a “solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict” would be to “relocate Israel into the United States”

Richard Ferrer has been editor of Jewish News since 2009. As one of Britain's leading Jewish voices he writes for The Times, Independent, New Statesman and many other titles. Richard previously worked at the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, edited the Boston Jewish Advocate and created the Channel 4 TV series Jewish Mum Of The Year.

Naz Shah
Naz Shah

A Labour MP has stepped down from her position as aide to shadow chancellor John McDonnell after it was revealed she had endorsed the relocation of Israel to America – but is still poised to be part of a parliamentary enquiry into anti-Semitism.

Bradford West MP Naz Shah said she “deeply regretted” the hurt caused by her comments and accepted there was “no excuse” for the offence they caused.

In a Facebook post in 2014, before she became an MP, Ms Shah shared a graphic which showed an image of Israel’s outline superimposed onto a map of the US under the headline “Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict – Relocate Israel into United States”, with the comment “problem solved”.

The post suggested the US has “plenty of land” to accommodate Israel as a 51st state, allowing Palestinians to “get their life and their land back”. It added that Israeli people would be welcome and safe in the US while the “transportation cost” would be less than three years’ worth of Washington’s support for Israeli defence spending.

The previous day, 4 August, Shah published a link to a blog that compares Zionism with Al Qaeda. The tweet, which remains live, is to a website called, carrying an article entitled ‘Colonisation, Israel, Palestinian resistance and…” It states: “European colonial values and it’s history, including Zionism, is devoid of any moral high ground and leads me to question the right of Israel to exist but yet I’m left with a reality that it does exist. In my view Zionism like Al Qaeda was and is a political movement layered with religious symbolism.”

After the relocation posting was highlighted by the Guido Fawkes website, Ms Shah released a short statement saying the post does not “reflect my views and I apologise for any offence it has caused”.

But amid mounting pressure and calls from Tory MPs for the whip to be withdrawn, she later announced she would stand down from her unpaid role as Mr McDonnell’s parliamentary private secretary. “I deeply regret the hurt I have caused by comments made on social media before I was elected as an MP,” she said. “I made these posts at the height of the Gaza conflict in 2014, when emotions were running high around the Middle East conflict. But that is no excuse for the offence I have given, for which I unreservedly apologise.

“In recognition of that offence, I have stepped down from my role as PPS to the shadow chancellor John McDonnell. I will be seeking to expand my existing engagement and dialogue with Jewish community organisations and will be stepping up my efforts to combat all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.”

The Board of Deputies said in a statement: ““Naz Shah’s comments about relocating Israelis to the United States are simply appalling. She has since apologised and stepped down as John McDonnell’s PPS. The Board of Deputies of British Jews has sought an urgent meeting for clarification of her views on Israel and the UK Jewish community.”

However, there is yet to be any word on her role on the Home Affairs Select Committee which announced a short enquiry into anti-Semitism just a fortnight ago.

Mike Freer, the Tory MP for Finchley and Golders Green , said: “She is another example of the poison cousing through the Labour Party. She should have the whip withdrawn and she should recuse herself from the Home Affairs inquiry into anti-Semitism.”

Jonathan Sacerdoti from the Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “We have offered to assist the Select Committee in its work investigating anti-Semitism, however if Naz Shah remains on the committee it will be hard for those of us giving evidence to take the inquiry seriously.”

Jewish News has contacted the committee chair Keith Vaz but has yet to receive a response.

Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan said: “Both the substance of Naz Shah’s comments, and language used by her, are highly offensive and completely unacceptable. As such, they are incompatible with her post as PPS to the Shadow Chancellor . I would also urge our leadership to make clear her views do not in any way reflect those of the Labour Party. This incident underlines yet again the need for the Labour Party to take urgent action to combat anti-semitism and anti-Zionism in all its forms.”

A Community Security Trust spokesperson said: “We note Naz Shah’s apology, but believe it is inadequate to merely say that she is sorry for having caused offence. If there is no deeper understanding of what was wrong, then her continued involvement in the antisemitism inquiry must be called into question.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: