Suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation – Lord Ahmed has apologized for his comments regarding the Jewish community, the press and courts. He said he had “the greatest respect” for the Jewish community and could not “believe [the video] when I saw it”. He went on to say his comments were “completely wrong”, “unacceptable” and the product of a “twisted mind” (his own that is) – but took “full responsibility” for them.
I applaud him on this matter.
He has said previously he is not anti-Semitic pointing to his work with the World Jewish Congress, One Voice, the Maimonides Foundation and the Joseph Interfaith Foundation. He goes so far as to explain at length that he visits synagogues her in the UK and been to Israel. This last point is stretching it a bit though, he goes in support of the Palestinian cause so if I were him I don’t think I’d stress this last point so much.
When asked why he had made such offensive and conspiratorial remarks, Lord Ahmed replied: “I don’t really have any explanation or excuse.” This might be an honest reply but I’m not so grateful for the apology that this is good enough, far from it in fact. But I suppose he was in Pakistan when being filmed making the apology so he could be playing to a local audience. Whatever the case as a British citizen to my mind this should be foremost when making an apology, perhaps making it in Israel (and no I don’t mean on the West Bank or in Gaza) might focus the mind a little?
Lord Ahmed also said that some Muslims confuse the line between ‘Israeli government’ policies and ‘Jewish’ policies but pointed out that he himself had, on several occasions, “interrupted people and said: ‘This is not a Jewish issue.’ As far as I am concerned, Muslims don’t have any problem with the Jewish faith.” His comments have been backed by Gerald Kaufman MP (he’s Jewish if you hadn’t guessed) who confirms Lord Ahmed’s claims about challenging people who make anti-Semitic remarks. Mr. Kaufman goes so far as to say he’s pro-Jewish, I don’t think so actually.
Lord Ahmed also made a point of apologizing to the Labour Part Leader Ed Milliband, his boss and Jewish! He added: “I’m particularly sorry to all my colleagues in the House of Lords and in the House of Commons because one thing many of them know is that I’m not anti-Semitic or a conspiracy theorist.”
But not everyone is convinced. The Jewish Community Trust which was set-up to monitor anti-Semitic crimes are suspicious of the televised apology as it was made to a journalist and not directly to those he offended, and not voluntarily.
For me he’s made an apology and we should be happy that he has. He cant explain why he did and say what he did but his actions seem to bear out what he says. I would be happy to give him the benefit of doubt on this matter.
Thank you for the apology Lord Ahmed.