Craig Mackinlay, one of the founders of UKIP, is now the Conservative MP of Thanet South in Kent.
He has recently published a letter attacking a number of his own constituents as being “anti-Semitic”.
He should not have done this.
But having done this, he should consider the following…
Someone who deplores what Israel is doing in Palestine – including its 50-year long illegal occupation , with illegal settlements, ongoing oppression and a thorough-going disregard of human rights and other acts declared illegal by the United Nations – is NOT being anti-Semitic.
Someone who is angered by the way a minority of Israel’s supporters try to excuse the country’s crimes by shamefully exploiting the horrific suffering of the Jewish people in World War II is NOT being anti-Semitic.
Remember, too, Mr Mackinlay, that when a person is writing about a controversial subject or discussing that subject with other people on social media it is comparatively easy to isolate their quotes in a way that unfairly represents their real views.
And for that reason, before publishing serious allegations about anyone – let alone your own constituents who you are supposed to serve – you should, as an absolute minimum, give them a chance to respond.
How is anyone possibly going to ask for your help as their MP when you have identified, attacked and branded them in public?
Finally, perhaps most importantly, you need to consider carefully what a true anti-Semite is – someone who attacks Jewish people for being Jewish and believes they do bad things because they are Jewish. This is the most despicable racism and everyone should condemn it without reservation.
Mr Mackinlay, please consider all this, retract your allegations and apologise unreservedly to the people you have attacked.