British Shadow Minister for Employment, Mike Amesbury, has apologized for sharing an anti-Semitic caricature from a conspiracy website after initially denying he had done so, The Jewish Chronicle reported Wednesday.
The Labour MP for Weaver Vale had shared on his personal Facebook account an image from a website called IlluminatiAgenda.com, depicting Jews as money-grabbing, controlling, hooked-nose creatures.
The anti-Semitic caricature showed a bearded and laughing man with a Father Christmas hat, rubbing his hands together, along with the words: “Remember to support the banks and corporations this Christmas in their continued efforts to enslave mankind, by spending money you haven’t got on things you don’t need…”
Initially, Amesbury denied sharing the post, tweeting: “I did not send this vile nonsense and never would,” adding: “The profile picture is of me and my son when we as a family went to Barcelona in 2015, curious that this claims to be from 2013.”
The MP deleted the tweet after activists on social media pointed out that the original post could still be seen on his own Facebook wall. Amesbury then released a statement “apologising unreservedly for this terrible error.”
“I genuinely don’t recall sharing this image and I’m mortified that I did so,” the MP said. “This appalling image contains an antisemitic caricature and a reference to the ‘illuminati’ conspiracy theory. I would never have intentionally shared antisemitic tropes and I am sincerely sorry that I did.”
In his apology, Amesbury also said that he had visited Auschwitz last year on a trip with the Holocaust Educational Trust. “This moving experience reaffirmed my commitment to working with the Jewish community to increase education and awareness about antisemitism,” he said.
On Wednesday, the shadow minister met with the Jewish Leadership Council, writing on Twitter: “I wanted Marc [Levy] to pass on my most sincere apologies to the whole of the Jewish community for my regrettable error.”
Following Amesbury’s apology, activist David Collier, who first reported the Facebook post, wrote: “The danger is that antisemitism is entering the mainstream- becoming normalised – and Mike’s post is evidence of that. The point that something so vile no longer registers in the way it should.”
Collier added: “This isn’t a witch hunt, this is a fight against anti-Semites (…) I hope Mike takes this as a lesson of how normalised this has become, how far this virus is spreading and he works with others to eradicate this disease from his party sand wider society.”
[Photo: JsixQ / YouTube ]