Labour’s anti-Semitism row rumbles on. Step forward Shami Chakrabarti to make matters worse. The shadow attorney general took to Radio 4 this morning to say it was time for all sides to come together. But there was a sticking point. One of the ongoing issues is whether it is acceptable to call the foundation of Israel racist. Many think it isn’t right to make such a point. But when the question was put to Chakrabarti, she was lost for words:
Mishal Husain: Do you think it is acceptable to describe the circumstances surrounding the foundation of the state of Israel as racist?
Shami Chakrabarti: …It depends how you do it. People have called Britain racist, you know that they have. Lord Macpherson called the British police racist…
MH: The circumstances around the state of the Jewish state, if you call that racist, is that acceptable?
SC: Well, I think, I think, there has to be a space for disagreement in a reasonable way otherwise we cannot move forward. There has to be space for debate.
But Shami didn’t stop there. Last month, former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks said that Jeremy Corbyn’s comments about Zionists were the ‘most offensive’ since Enoch Powell. Not so, according to Shami, who suggested that Sacks didn’t know what he was talking about. Here’s what she said this morning:
‘I know what it is like to be a member of a community that is worried – I am a British Asian who grew up in the seventies, I remember the real Enoch Powell before this stuff gets hyperbolised and exaggerated.’