Labour lawmaker Kim Johnson, who represents a district of the city of Liverpool, called Israel’s new far-right government „fascist.”
A British Labour Party lawmaker called Israel’s new far-right government „fascist” in parliament during the „Prime Minister’s Questions” session held in parliament each Wednesday.
Kim Johnson, who represents a district of the city of Liverpool, made the comment to show how the party is prioritising a unified pro-Israel stance after years of antisemitism controversy.
„Since the election of the fascist Israeli government in December last year, there has been an increase in human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, including children. So can the prime minister tell us how he is challenging what Amnesty [International] and other human rights organisations have described as an apartheid state?”
„Well, Mr Speaker, the honourable lady also failed to mention the horrific attacks on civilians inside Israel as well, and it’s important in this matter to remain calm and urge all sides to strive for peace, and that’s very much what I will do as prime minister and in the conversations that I’ve had with the Israeli prime minister,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded.
Johnson apologised a few hours later, speaking up again in the House of Commons.
„I would like to apologise unreservedly for the intemperate language I used during PMQs,” Johnson read from a prepared speech. „I was wrong to use the term fascist in relation to the Israeli government, and understand why this was particularly insensitive given the history of the state of Israel. And while there are far-right elements in the government, I recognise that the use of the term in this context was wrong.”
„I would also like to apologise for the use of the term apartheid state. While I was quoting accurately Amnesty’s description, I recognise that this is insensitive and would like to withdraw it,” she added.
„Kim Johnson’s words were completely unacceptable. Labour sees the relationship with Israel as an important one, and Keir is committed to strengthening that,” a Labour spokesperson said, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
Former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of allowing antisemitism to fester throughout the party’s ranks, due to which a number of Jewish lawmakers left the party, reports The Jerusalem Post. Keir Starmer, serving as Leader of the Labour Party since 2020, has strived to move the party past the years of antisemitism controversy.
Photo credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire