I questioned Naz Shah on Sunday night at the communal meeting in Leeds. I was impressed with the audience’s behaviour – she had, after all, said anti-Semitic things and, although the questions were tough, they were almost unanimously polite and people listened to her.
I don’t think she’s an anti-Semite and that was the view of the vast majority. She was too willing to engage and apologise, and she has so little to gain. Check her Twitter feed for the accusations of “selling out”. She’s critical of the Israeli government but not of Israel’s existence or right to defend itself. That isn’t indiscriminate – she hated Gaza – but it is nuanced – she equally condemned Hamas and Hezbollah.
Anti-Semitism isn’t at the top or her list of priorities – Bradford has myriad problems, not least having been previously represented by George Galloway. But she is committed to educating her community and herself.
She defended the Chakrabarti report and suggested Corbyn no longer regards Hamas as “friends”. She said Labour prevented her publishing her apology instantly and put its own house in order first, and that Corbyn is surrounded by a poor team. If the Labour leader behaved like her, we’d have less to worry about.