Archive | January, 2021

A is for…

14 Jan

Cllr Nazir Ahmed campaigning in 2019

Cllr Nazir Ahmed (left) campaigning in the 2019 general election

The Deputy Chair of Newham Council, Cllr Nazir Ahmed of Little Ilford, has been suspended by the Labour Party pending an investigation into alleged antisemitism.

According to the Jewish News website Cllr Ahmed made a number of social media posts that contained antisemitic material, including one suggesting Israel should be relocated to the United States (“easy solution for Israel-Palestine conflict!”) and two repeating the untruth that Israel is tunnelling under the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem with the intention of causing it to collapse.

He also shared a video which asked whether “Israel have USA in the pocket..”, and another about a group of anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews saying “not all Jewish [sic] are the same. There are some very good Jewish.”

Given the recent Equalities and Human Rights Commission Investigation into the Labour Party and the row last autumn over the handling of antisemitic posts on the local party’s Facebook group, this is more than just an embarrassment.

Cllr Ahmed was elected in 2018 and all of the social media posts mentioned above pre-date his selection as a Labour candidate. The application form explicitly asks for links to blogs and social media sites (“this includes Facebook and Twitter”) that potential candidates have access to. Did nobody take a look? And, if they did, why did they not spot this stuff? Maybe they did and didn’t think it a problem.

A Labour spokesperson said the “party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

There is no comment currently on the council website and Cllr Ahmed is still listed as the deputy chair.