Labour MP Ian Austin has apologised to Israelis for “the offence and distress my party has caused the Jewish people” while on a visit to the region this week, reported Jewish News.
The Dudley North MP made the remarks during the Knesset Conference of Parliamentary Friendship Groups, which he was attending in his capacity as a member of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI).
Austin apologised “to you, Mr President, to Members of the Knesset and the people of Israel.”
He said: “We have seen candidates denying the Holocaust and senior figures say Hitler supported Zionism, compare the actions of Israel with the crimes of the Nazis or single out the world’s only Jewish state for boycotts and sanctions.”
“This is anti-Semitism pure and simple and I promise you we’re going to do all we can to rid our party of this poison,” he added.
Austin was one of a number of LFI-supporting British MPs in Israel this week, to attend both the aforementioned Knesset conference, and also the “International Strategic Leadership Dialogue in Jerusalem”.
LFI chair Joan Ryan spoke at the latter’s Gala Dinner, where she claimed pro-Israel MPs had “repeatedly challenged the effort by some in the Labour leadership to abandon our party’s long-standing opposition to BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions]”.