As a Labour councillor in Salford and a constituent of Salford and Eccles, I could not be more disappointed in my MP, Rebecca Long-Bailey, and her article (I know how painful antisemitism is and never intended my tweet to cause hurt, 29 June).
The most appropriate response to a mistake and causing hurt would be to apologise. If you know you caused hurt, sorry should not be the hardest word.
Not noticing the antisemitic section of the article she retweeted is forgivable. The explanation of doing a quick read and missing that part is something we can all empathise with. But to realise you have made an error, understand it has caused hurt and then fail to apologise or delete the tweet is unforgivable.
Associating the killing of George Floyd, by the police of a state with a 400-year history of racist oppression and white supremacist violence, with Israel was not just a criticism of the state of Israel – any more than Donald Trump’s executive order of 2017 banning entry of immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries was just a criticism of those states. Yet Long-Bailey has not made it clear that she believed that section of the article to be wrong. We have a large Jewish population in Salford and they need to know what she believes, just as people like me need to know.
In her article she deflected criticism back on to the leader’s office rather than face her own failings. It should not take the leader’s office to tell you when to say sorry. Yes, this was “an avoidable mess”, but it is Long-Bailey, not the leader, who is to blame. Keir Starmer made the right decision.
I demand better of Rebecca Long-Bailey. Better understanding of the issues of antisemitism, a better response when she knows she has done wrong and, something that was completely absent from her article, a large dose of humility.
Cllr Kate Lewis
• As a trained and formerly practising lawyer, Rebecca Long-Bailey should know that you do not sign off documents, even tweets, without carefully reading them first. As a politician she should know that blaming Israel for the world’s ills is one of the favourite themes in the antisemitic playbook. If she didn’t know that before the recent troubles in the Labour party she should certainly know it now. What did she think she was doing?