Naz Shah (center)
Naz Shah (center) Wikicommons/Ali Khan

After an initial refusal to do so, the UK Labour Party has formally suspended Bradford West MP Naz Shah.

Shah, who has repeatedly stirred up controversy with her comments on Israel and Jews, earlier sent an apology to the UK Labour Party headquarters. Labour redacted the apology and later released it, excising all references to anti-Semitism, Nazi Germany, and the widespread problem of anti-Israel conspiracy theories among party members.

Given the party’s acceptance of her letter, it appeared that Shah would avoid further censure.

While Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned Shah regarding her offensive posts, Prime Minister David Cameron chided the Labour for not taking disciplinary action, demanding she be suspended from the party.

“Anti-Semitism is effectively racism and we should call it out and fight it wherever we see it,” Cameron said. “And the fact that, frankly, we have a Labour Member of Parliament, with the Labour whip, who made remarks about the transportation of Israel to America, and talked about a ‘solution’, and is still in receipt of the Labour whip is quite extraordinary.”

On Wednesday the party backtracked, issuing a formal suspension, barring her from party activities until an investigation into the matter is completed.

In January 2016, Shah sparked controversy when she insisted that Arab stone-throwing was not to blame for the death of Israeli children, including Adelle Biton, who died in 2015 after suffering serious injuries in a stone-throwing attack two years earlier.

On Tuesday it was revealed that Shah had made a series of comments on social media prior to her election as MP calling for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel and comparing the State of Israel to Nazi Germany.

Later it was discovered that Shah’s parliamentary aide, Mohammad Shabbir, had his own history of anti-Israel comments. In a tweet in 2014, Shabbir suggested that the ISIS Islamic terror group was in fact part of a broad Israeli conspiracy to conquer the Middle East.

The Labour Party has struggled in recent years with a series of controversies arising from anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments made by party members and activists.

Even as the party tried to limit the damage, Labour headquarters drew criticism for excising references to anti-Semitism from the original draft of Shah’s apology, and whitewashing the issue of anti-Semitism within the party. Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard slammed the party’s handling Shah’s apology as “laughable”.

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