Jon Stewart Blasts UK Election Controversy: 'Dumbest Since Boris Johnson'

Faiza Shaheen faces scrutiny over past social media activity

by Zain ul Abedin
Jon Stewart Blasts UK Election Controversy: 'Dumbest Since Boris Johnson'
© Cindy Ord/Getty Images

In a recent stir within British politics, Jon Stewart has openly criticized the UK Labour Party’s decision to block Faiza Shaheen from running for Parliament due to her historical tweets about Israel. Stewart, reacting to a post by former MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan, expressed his dismay, labeling it "the dumbest thing the UK has done since electing Boris Johnson." Stewart, who boasts a following of 1.7 million on Twitter (formerly X), shared Hasan's claim that Shaheen was "suspended" for liking a tweet featuring Stewart’s 2014 sketch, 'We Need to Talk About Israel'

Stewart, who is Jewish, minced no words in his post, conveying his shock and confusion at the decision. However, the situation is more nuanced than initially presented. Speaking on BBC Newsnight, Shaheen clarified that she was not disciplined merely for liking the sketch.

Instead, she highlighted that Labour had issues with a series of 14 tweets she had posted over the last decade. These concerns prevented her selection as Labour’s candidate for the Chingford and Woodford Green seat in the upcoming July 4 election.

Labour's Antisemitism Quandary

One particular tweet in question linked to Stewart's sketch and criticized the way critics of Israel are often subjected to allegations of antisemitism by "professional organizations." Shaheen admitted on Newsnight that the tweet was problematic and stated she did not remember liking it, but acknowledged its inappropriateness.

This controversy highlights the ongoing struggles within the Labour Party, especially under the leadership of Keir Starmer, to distance itself from the antisemitism allegations that plagued the tenure of former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Shaheen, known for her support of Corbyn and endorsed by actor Hugh Grant in the past, finds herself at a complex crossroads of party politics and public perception. Stewart's outspoken reaction underscores the international attention and sensitivity surrounding discussions of Israel and antisemitism in British politics.

As the Labour Party seeks to redefine its stance, the implications of such high-profile interventions remain a point of keen interest and debate.