The UK’s first MP of Palestinian descent has condemned posters which appeared on London bus stops last week saying “Israel is a racist endeavour” as “blatantly anti-Semitic.”
Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, made the comments on the BBC’s Daily Politics show.
The posters were meant to mock the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which the Labour Party adopted last week after pro-Israel groups lobbied hard for it.
The IHRA definition, which gives calling the “state of Israel… a racist endeavour” as an example of potential anti-Semitism.
But Ms Moran, whose mother is a Palestinian Christian, condemned them, saying: “I’m a Palestinian… The fact that this has come from a group that purportedly is speaking for Palestinians, I take great offence at myself, because I think it is blatantly anti-Semitic.”
Ms Moran added: “There are factions in the Israeli government, there are extremes in the Israeli government, led often by Netanyahu, who do actually have issues with Palestinians and the settlements, and there are very clear issues there. But to say that an entire country is racist is entirely wrong.”
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, also condemned the fly posting as “offensive” and confirmed that any posters found would be rapidly removed.
Ms Moran’s views contrast sharply with Palestinian civil society organisations who issued a statement last month urging the Labour Party and trade unions to reject the IHRA definition.
The Palestinian organisations said the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition was a “false, anti-Palestinian definition of anti-Semitism which seeks to conflate anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel.”
They added that the definition aimed to silence criticism of Israeli policies that clearly violate Palestinian human rights.