New MP for Peterborough Lisa Forbes has promised to “regain the trust of the Jewish community”.
Ms Forbes faced heavy criticism from Jewish groups and Labour MPs – some of whom put in formal complaints against her straight after her election victory – after it came to light during the campaign that she had liked an antisemitic Facebook post which said Theresa May has a “Zionist slave masters agenda”.
Ms Forbes was also criticised for signing a letter which called on Labour’s ruling body not to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, and for being a member of a Facebook group where there was mention of “Zionist rats”, content alleging the Jewish State “spends a fortune perverting our democracy”, and one person questioning why more Palestinians did not go out to stab Jews.
She also commented on a post from September 2014 which accused the CIA and Mossad, “supported by British imperialism”, of funding and creating extremists such as ISIS.
She wrote: “I have enjoyed reading this thread so much. So much that trys to divide us, but there is much more that unites us all.” Labour claimed she was referring to comments underneath the post.
During the campaign Ms Forbes said she “apologised wholeheartedly for not calling out these posts” and would “deepen” her understanding of antisemitism”.
Asked by the PT during an interview last week about the criticism which she had received, Ms Forbes said: “As was widely reported I mistakenly engaged with some posts on Facebook. I’ve apologised for that, and as I said I would, I’ve reached out to some of the different community organisations that represent the Jewish community. Both nationally and in Peterborough.
“I’ve got meetings coming up with those organisations, I’ve got a meeting with the Rabbi who is responsible for the Jewish congregation in Peterborough.
“I’m determined I will regain the trust of the Jewish community.
“I’m also doing a training course as well to understand more about antisemitism because I will be the first to admit I don’t know everything about the issues that people are facing. The MPs in Parliament that have been subject to antisemitic abuse, I want to learn what they face and I want to do as much as I can to regain the trust of the Jewish community, and learn as much as I can so I can be an ally in the fight against antisemitism in the future.”