British Labour lawmaker who accused Israel envoy of dual loyalties gains senior posts


A British lawmaker who once accused a Jewish ambassador to Israel of dual loyalty will serve as a senior opposition leader.

Paul Flynn, a Labour Party lawmaker from Wales since 1987, was named shadow secretary of state for Wales and shadow leader of the House of Commons this week.

The appointment comes shortly after a report on anti-Semitism within the party saying it is not overrun by anti-Semitism or other forms of racism, but there is an “occasionally toxic atmosphere.” The report’s 20 recommendations did not include permanently banning offenders, but urged party members to be “vigilant against subtler and invidious manifestations” of anti-Semitism.

Labour in recent months has seen the suspension of at least 20 members, including at the senior level, for anti-Semitic hate speech that critics say party leader Jeremy Corbyn is not doing enough to curb.

In 2011, Flynn said that Britain’s ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, “was serving the interests of the Israeli government.”

“I do not normally fall for conspiracy theories, but the ambassador has proclaimed himself to be a Zionist and he has previously served in Iran, in the service,” said Flynn.

Challenged to defend his comments by the Jewish Chronicle, a London-based Jewish newspaper, Flynn said the ambassador to Israel should be “someone with roots in the UK [who] can’t be accused of having Jewish loyalty.”

Flynn’s comments were widely condemned by British officials. He denied the comments were anti-Semitic.

British lawmaker loses post over Nazi-themed party


A British lawmaker was fired from his job working for a senior Conservative Party minister after attending a Nazi-themed party.

Aiden Burley, 32, a parliamentary private secretary for Transport Secretary Justine Greening, was dismissed on Dec. 19, a week after photos of his presence at the stag party at a French ski resort came to light. At least one party participant dressed up in an SS officer’s uniform, and the guests toasted to the Nazi Party and the Third Reich.

Prime Minister David Cameron on Dec. 19 ordered a full investigation into the incident following reports that Burley had been responsible for ordering the SS uniform costumes.

It is illegal in France to wear or exhibit in public Nazi-era memorabilia or copies of such memorabilia.

Burley apologized for the incident with an “unreserved, wholehearted and fulsome apology” in a letter to the London-based Jewish Chronicle newspaper.

“On reflection, I wish I had left as soon as I had realized what was happening,” he wrote. “What was happening was wrong and I should have completely dissociated myself from it. I had a choice, and I made the wrong choice NOT to leave. I apologize for this error of judgment.”

Burley was elected to the House of Commons as a member of Parliament for Cannock Chase in 2010.

British Jewish lawmaker apologizes for ‘Jews again’ remark


A British lawmaker has apologized for insulting a fellow Jewish lawmaker and Labor Party member during a debate in the House of Commons.

During a debate Wednesday on plans to change the law of universal jurisdiction, Gerald Kaufman turned to a lawmaker sitting next to him and said, “Here we are, the Jews again,” as pro-Israel lawmaker Louise Ellman rose to refute a claim by the Labor Party’s Ann Clwyd that the lawmakers were trying to change the law—making it more difficult to issue an arrest warrant against a suspected international war criminal—to appease the Israeli government.

An arrest warrant was issued in December 2009 for former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni after she was scheduled to visit the country to speak before a Jewish organization. Livni did not make the trip.

The comments by Kaufman, who is Jewish but known for strong anti-Israel views, were picked up by a neighboring lawmaker’s microphone.

“I regret if any remarks I made in the chamber caused offense. If they did, I apologize,” Kaufman said in a statement released by the Labor Party.

Ellman reportedly has made a formal complaint to the party’s leadership.