The anti-Semitism dispute bedeviling Britain’s Labour Party ahead of Thursday’s London mayoral election has continued with the suspension of two city councilors over anti-Israel remarks they made.
The party said Monday that Nottingham City councilor Ilyas Aziz has been suspended pending an investigation.
It later said Salim Mulla, a Blackburn with Darwen city councilor, was also suspended after anti-Israel Facebook posts surfaced.
According to a report from The Independent, many of the comments by Aziz were apparently made in August 2014, including one Facebook post in which Aziz wrote that “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 other posts he appeared to liken Israeli actions toward the Palestinians to those of the Nazis against Jews, referred to Israel as an illegal state, and made comments about “Zionist invaders.”
— Javier Yearson (@javieryearson) May 2, 2016
Aziz also called on Jews to “stop drinking Gaza blood.
“If the Israelis really wanted to target terrorists why aren’t they killing themselves?” he wrote.
The move to suspend Aziz follows the suspension last week of two other Labour figures, including former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who was on the party’s executive council.
— Javier Yearson (@javieryearson) May 2, 2016
The party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has launched an independent review of anti-Semitism and racism within its ranks.
A series of anti-Semitic scandals has rocked the British left-wing party.
Ilyas Aziz—Nottingham Labour councillor here pictured with Corbyn wearing Corbyn shirt—suspended for anti-semitism. pic.twitter.com/ekjnMoQvDh
— Hughster (@hughster) May 2, 2016
The Guido Fawkes political blog on Monday reported that Mulla in July 2015 posted a video claiming Israel was behind the Sandy Hook massacre, writing: “Now he know [sic] what he is talking about. He is talking facts.”
Mulla also posted a photo calling for Israel’s relocation to the United States in August 2015 — the same infographic that led to the suspension of Labour MP Naz Shah last week.
In June 2015, he posted a photo of an IDF soldier with a Palestinian woman and wrote: “Apartheid at its best. Zionist Jews are a disgrace to humanity.”
The anti-Semitism row flared up last week when Labour legislator Shah was suspended for posting anti-Israel material before she was elected to Parliament. Similar to Aziz, she also posted a comment on social media suggesting Israel be moved to the US.
London’s Jewish Chronicle, citing the Guido Fawkes website, reported at the time that Shah employed an aide, Mohammed Shabbir, who had “previously posted tweets about a ‘Palestinian Holocaust in Gaza’ and repeatedly used the term ‘Zio.’ In a blog post about sex crimes and grooming,” the report said, Shabbir “claimed Russian Orthodox Jews were involved in ‘the sex trafficking trade — demand is particularly high among Charedim, the conservative Orthodox Jews, many of whom are regular clients of brothels….’”
Shah’s suspension prompted Livingstone to defend her by saying that Adolf Hitler had been a Zionist early in his political career, before the Nazi leader “went mad” and murdered six million Jews.
Livingstone, who has refused to apologize and insists his claim is true, was quickly suspended from the party where he had sat on the executive council, but his provocative comments led Corbyn to set up an independent review of anti-Semitism and other racism within the party, after initially denying there was a problem.
Speaking at a May Day event on Sunday, Corbyn rebuffed calls to denounce contacts with terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, while repeating his declaration that the Labour Party is against anti-Semitism.
But as Labour attempted to push back against efforts to label it anti-Semitic, it also came under fire for Corbyn’s past contacts with Hamas and Hezbollah, both sworn to Israel’s destruction.
A statement from Corbyn’s spokesperson said he would continue to engage such groups, while denying that doing so was tantamount to an endorsement.
Ed Miliband, Corbyn’s predecessor as Labour leader, prevented Livingstone from publishing “ridiculous & ignorant views on Hitler and Zionism” when he was running as the party’s candidate for London mayor in 2012, according to a former adviser. Tom Baldwin, Miliband’s former spin doctor, tweeted Monday: “Livingstone wanted it in his ‘memoirs’ before the mayoral election. Ed told him he was wrong and to take it out.”