As political parties gear up for a general election that may imminently be called, selections of candidates are underway across the country. However, numerous figures with very troubling records are being lined up as candidates for the Labour Party.
In the election for Mayor of the West Midlands metropolitan area, former Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob, who recently joined Labour, is being fast-tracked to become the Party’s candidate. In the past, Ms Yaqoob shared Rothschild conspiracy theories on social media, has repeatedly tweeted about “Zionists”, described allegations of antisemitism against Ken Livingstone as “Zionist smears”, suggested that Jews in Israel were white colonisers and described the Jewish State as a “pig”, has praised Jewish Voice for Labour, an antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, and has described efforts to address Labour’s antisemitism crisis (which by inference includes the Party’s adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism) as “a vicious campaign for censorship.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has lionised Ms Yaqoob, describing her as a “hero” and a “fantastic activist”, and she has been endorsed by the pro-Corbyn group, Momentum, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon and numerous councillors, trade unionists and pro-Corbyn media commentators.
In Liverpool Riverside, the seat currently held by Dame Louise Ellman MP who quit the Labour Party over antisemitism, Jewish Voice for Labour member Jo Bird is being lined up as the new candidate in a move that has been described as the “ultimate insult” to the Jewish community. Cllr Bird was briefly suspended for dubbing the Party’s disciplinary procedures as “Jew process” and has previously discussed allegations of racism saying: “Seriously, one of the things that does worry me is the privileging of racism against Jews, over and above — as more worthy of resources than other forms of racism.”
In Poplar and Limehouse, a former personal assistant to disgraced former Mayor of Tower Hamlets Luftar Rahman has become Labour’s candidate for the safe seat. Apsana Begum was endorsed by Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell and Corbyn-backing Momentum, where she holds a senior position, despite having been investigated for alleged antisemitism after accusing Tony Blair of spreading “Zionist propaganda”, claiming the leaders of Saudi Arabia were “inspired by Zionist masters” and sharing material by a political activist accused of antisemitism and 9/11 conspiracy theories.
Ms Begum’s candidacy has been described as a “stitch up” and is accused, among other controversial candidates, of benefitting from a centralised and streamlined selection process, allegedly strategic suspensions and uses of all-women shortlists to position hard-left figures in time for the election.
In South Thanet, Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt has clinched the Labour candidacy despite Labour’s National Executive Committee declining to endorse her on the basis that she brought the Party into disrepute after her organisation (where she was reportedly the only listed staff member) tweeted “Has anyone looked into Hitler’s policy on Zionism? Might not be mutually exclusive with his later actions #Scapegoating #Corbyn.” Another tweet wondered about the “Zionist sympathies” of John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, who is Jewish. Her organisation also defended the antisemitic Jackie Walker, a former vice-chair of Momentum who was expelled from the Labour Party. Labour’s National Constitutional Committee dismissed charges against Ms Gordon-Nesbitt earlier this year.
In Uxbridge, Ali Milani will be Labour’s candidate to take on Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Mr Milani has a long history of problematic statements about Jews and Israel, including referencing a stereotype about Jews and money; pressuring a mosque into cancelling an exhibition on Albanian Muslims’ efforts to save Jews from the Nazis because of the exhibit’s links to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum; sharing a platform with Tapash Abu Shaim, who reportedly believes that Israel was behind the Charlie Hebdo killings, ISIS and 9/11; commenting on the power and funding of Israel lobbyists; criticising the television presenter Piers Morgan as a “Zionist” (in a social media exchange unrelated to Israel or Jews); suggesting he does not accept Israel’s right to exist (a view he says he has since reversed); believing Israel to be a colonialist state built on ethnic cleansing; implying that he would go to war with Israel; appearing to excuse armed conflict against Israel; and leading efforts to boycott Israel at his university campus. He has also appeared on the Iranian propaganda station Press TV.
Mr Milani says that he has “profusely and unreservedly apologised on every public platform and interview I have ever done for the comments made in my teens.” He also recently visited the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and reacted by saying: “Every kid in the country should go on that trip.”
In South West Norfolk, Matthew Collings was selected as Labour’s candidate to take on Conservative frontbencher Liz Truss, but was reportedly suspended by the Party the next day as a result of his “behaviour on social media”. It has been revealed that Mr Collings has shared messages on social media saying that “Zionism is the enemy of peace” (which echoes remarks by Shadow Justice Minister Richard Burgon), belittling Labour’s antisemitism crisis, suggesting that a demonstration outside Parliament by the Jewish community against antisemitism was populated by “racists and the far-right” and calling former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks “a notorious hate-filled racist”. The selection process will therefore have to be re-run to find a new candidate.
In Ealing North, a safe Labour seat, prospective candidates include Cllr Aysha Raza, who, along with Jeremy Corbyn, defended the infamous antisemitic mural. She reports that she has since undertaken antisemitism training with the Jewish Labour Movement. Meanwhile, Cllr Sitarah Anjum, who has called Israel a “war criminal” and defended forced marriage, has been removed from the shortlist, making Cllr Raza the only woman of the three candidates left in contention.
In Westminster, Gordon Nardell QC, who reportedly has said that he “absolutely” shares Mr Corbyn’s views on foreign policy, is shortlisted as a candidate. He was Labour’s first general counsel, brought in to oversee its disciplinary procedures on antisemitism, and was a member of the controversial Labour Representation Committee, a pro-Corbyn pressure group which has a long history of belittling claims of antisemitism and publishing extremely disturbing articles and whose president is the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell. Mr Nardell left his role after a year.
In Barking, Cllr Moniba Khan looked to unseat Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, who had to fight for re-selection, which she won in a vote yesterday. Dame Margaret, who is an honorary patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism, previously came under fire for calling Mr Corbyn “an antisemitic racist”. Ms Khan reportedly attended an event with Jackie Walker and disgraced MP Chris Williamson.
In Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Bill Curran had been selected as Labour’s candidate for Parliament but was removed after an internal Party probe revealed that he had defended disgraced MP Chris Williamson and Jackie Walker, belittled Labour’s antisemitism crisis, has a long history of Jew-baiting, and wrote: “Let our Jewish comrades know that we will stand by them. When the blackshirts come, we will stand to defend the schules, synagogues, cemeteries. This loyalty is unconditional. They won’t have to vote for us, they don’t even have to stop throwing vitriol at us.”
In Nottingham East, Shaista Aziz is on the shortlist. She has served as the Constituency Labour Party Women’s Officer in the Oxford East Labour Party and was elected to the Oxford City Council in 2018. Cllr Aziz has tried to contextualise the motivations two British Hamas suicide bombers and has shared conspiracy theories about Zionists on social media.
In Epping Forest, Colin Monehen has been removed from the shortlist as it emerged that he defended the notorious antisemitic image of a parasite emblazoned with the Star of David crawling over the face of the Statue of Liberty. He has also supported disgraced MP Chris Williamson.
In Bournemouth East, Corrie Drew, who has been selected as Labour’s candidate for the seat, said she was “devastated” that Mr Monehen was removed from the shortlist in Epping Forest, tweeting to him: “I have so much admiration for you & would have been proud to support your campaign. Your support for the rights of Palestinian people has never included discrimination towards Jewish people. Sending you love & solidarity”.
In South Suffolk, Luke Cresswell, a member of Momentum who has previously been suspended over allegations of antisemitism, vied to become Labour’s candidate but was removed from the shortlist reportedly after due diligence checks were carried out. The former councillor was suspended by the Party while being investigated for posting images comparing Israel to the Nazis, which is an example of antisemitism under the International Definition of Antisemitism, and shared an image of a Star of David soaked in blood, for which he apologised, before being suspended again over other allegations.
In Aberdeen North, Clare Millar, who has suggested that Israel is behind ISIS and has defended disgraced MP Chris Williamson, lost her bid to become the local candidate.
Joe Glasman, Head of Political and Government Investigations at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “The abundance of evidence of Labour’s institutional antisemitism is now overwhelming and horrifying. The Labour Party is hounding out female Jewish MPs Luciana Berger and Dame Louise Ellman and others who have stood up to racism, replacing them across the country with candidates whose attitudes towards Jews could scarcely be more alarming. As Labour figures continue to claim that Jeremy Corbyn is ‘anti-racist’, he is forging ahead with his purge of Jews and real anti-racists, replacing them with a cast of Jew-haters, antisemites and Jew-baiters. If he succeeds, Mr Corbyn’s legacy is likely to be a Labour Party seeded with racism that will poison Britain’s politics and threaten its Jewish community for decades to come.”
On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Over 57,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”