Following his recent landslide victory in the UK Labor Party's leadership elections, Britain's new opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has put together his Shadow Cabinet – a group of senior opposition MPs who traditionally form an "alternative cabinet" to the ruling party. In theory, those officials would form the cabinet under a Labor government, should Corbyn be elected in the next general elections (and barring mid-term reshuffles).
Unsurprisingly, given Corbyn's own extreme politics, the Shadow Cabinet features a number of markedly radical individuals.
Among the most senior members of that Shadow Cabinet is John McDonnell, who was appointed Shadow Chancellor – a hardline socialist who back in 2014 called for British Jews who served in the IDF to be stripped of their citizenship.
In a letter to Home Secretary Theresa May, McDonnell linked to an oped penned by anti-Israel journalist Robert Fisk, who compared IDF volunteers to radicalized Muslims who joined ISIS, and suggested British citizens who served in the Israeli army should be questioned by police if they attempted to travel back to the UK.
But McDonnell went further, calling on the government to consider stripping them of their citizenship altogether.
"I am aware of the Government’s policy of detaining and prosecuting those British citizens travelling to fight in the current Middle East conflicts," he wrote. "I am writing to ask if you are aware of how many British citizens are currently fighting with, or are intending to join, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in and around the Gaza Strip? Will you be making the necessary arrangements to assess the numbers involved?"
The letter, which was written in July 2014, at the height of Israel's war with terrorists in Gaza, went on to ask: "Will you be warning any British citizens considering engagement with the IDF that, in line with established British Government practice (e.g. the deprivation of British citizenship from, to date, at least 40 UK passport holders who have been involved in the Syrian civil war), such engagement may put their British citizenship in jeopardy?
"Given the seriousness of the current situation in Gaza and the apparent escalation of the Israeli attacks on Palestinians, I urge you to address these questions promptly so that any British citizen currently participating or planning to participate in these attacks is warned of the potential consequences and thus may be deterred from acting in this way."
There is no indication that May ever replied to the letter, and Prime Minister David Cameron – whose Conservative Party trounced Labor in recent general elections – has staunchly rejected any attempts by anti-Israel groups to equate the IDF with terrorist organizations.
Still, the appointment of such an extreme anti-Israel MP to such a prominent position is hardly likely to instill British Jews with much confidence. Prior to Corbyn's election, a majority of Jews in the UK said they were extremely concerned over his disturbing links to a wide range of extremists, including far-right holocaust deniers, an anti-Semitic Christian minister and Islamist terrorist groups.