A former Labour MP from eastern Scotland came under fire this week, after he shared a cartoon critics say is anti-Semitic due to its portrayal of Israel as a dog, and suggesting Jews are usurpers in the Land of Israel.
The scandal erupted Tuesday, after Jim McGovern, member of the Scottish branch of the UK Labour party who served in the British Parliament from 2005 to 2015, posted onto social media a cartoon which had formerly appeared in a Danish paper.
In the first frame, labelled as “1946” – the cartoon shows a man sleeping comfortably in his bed, with a dog on the floor near the bed. The man is marked with the Palestine Liberation Organization flag, while the dog is marked as Israel, bearing the Israeli flag.
In the second frame, labelled as “1947”, the dog is shown sleeping in the bed, while the man is now pushed over to one side.
By the third frame, marked “1967”, the dog is seen sprawling out across the bed, kicking the now uncomfortable man in the face.
In the final frame, labelled “2000”, the man is forced to sleep on the floor.
McGovern posted the cartoon to his social media account just days after Richard Leonard, the chairman of the Scottish branch of the Labour Party, and UK Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn vowed to combat anti-Semitism within the party at a party conference in Dundee – McGovern’s hometown.
The Scottish branch of the Conservative Party immediately condemned McGovern, calling the cartoon anti-Semitic.
“This is anti-Semitic and it is disgraceful that a former Labour MP has shared it on a public forum.”
Even some in the Labour Party balked at McGovern’s post.
One party official called the post “vile”, The Times reported.
“The specific reference to 1946 is incredible. The creation of Israel was based around Jews fleeing Europe after the horrors of the Holocaust. To liken those particular people to dogs is vile.”
Some Scottish Labour warned that McGovern’s post “undermines what the party is trying to do to rebuild trust with the Jewish community in Scotland”.