The Labour Party has suspended three councillors for anti-Semitic remarks, as the anti-Semitism controversy that engulfed the party last week continues – with reports stating that up to 50 members have so far been suspended in the wake of the crisis.
Ilyas Aziz, a councillor for Nottingham City, was suspended on Monday morning for a string of comments including the suggestion that Israel should be relocated to the United States.
One comment on Facebook written by Aziz in July 2014 states: “Jews and Muslims lived together in the Middle East, in peace pre-1948. Perhaps it would have been wiser to create Israel in America it’s big enough. They could relocate even now”. In another post from 2014, he compared the actions of Israel against the Palestinians to those of the Nazis against the Jews.
Just two hours later, Salim Mulla, a Blackburn councillor and former Mayor of Blackburn, was suspended over posts which included the statement: “Zionist Jews are a disgrace to humanity”. He had also posted the same graphic advocating the relocation of Israel to America that Naz Shah MP shared.
Then later in the afternoon, Burnley councillor Shah Hussain was suspended over a tweet to Israeli footballer Yossi Benayoun, stating: “You and your country doing the same thing that Hitler did to ur race in WW2”.
In the most high-profile incident yet of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, it emerged last week that Bradford West MP Naz Shah called for the State of Israel to be removed from the Middle East and “relocated” to the United States. In a u-turn, the Labour Party announced that Ms Shah was to be suspended from the party by the General Secretary: “Pending investigation, she is unable to take part in any party activity and the whip is removed”.
The following day, the former Labour Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was suspended for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute after stating in a BBC radio interview that “Hitler was supporting Zionism”.
Speaking in defence of Naz Shah MP, Mr Livingstone said: “Hitler was supporting Zionism… Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”. He added that Naz Shah was the victim of a “well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby”.
Leading the condemnation, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It is quite clear that Labour has a problem with anti-Semitism… it’s now totally apparent”. He underlined that anti-Semitism is “unacceptable in a modern political party”.