Labour councillor apologises for past comments as other repeat offenders undermine Sir Keir Starmer’s renewed claim that Party’s victory in Barnet shows growing Jewish trust
A Labour Party councillor in Birmingham has apologised after past comments on social media emerged in which she apparently accused the sanitation management company, Veolia, of being a “Zionist supporter” and making her “feel guilty”.
Cllr Shabino Bano, who represents the Small Heath ward, posted on Facebook in 2014, apparently about the company: “Even our rubbish is given to the zionist. The government is destroying our souls, we can’t even get rid of rubbish without feeling guilty! Veoli is a zionist supporter! It is sickening to b in a country that u call your own; but your leader is sympathetic to the evil dogs [sic].”
At first, Cllr Bano reportedly claimed that she did not remember making the comments and said that she did not think she had, noting that she had previously had problems with her Facebook account and had been locked out for a period.
But in a new Facebook message, she reportedly wrote: “In recent days historic social media posts of mine have come to light. I take full responsibility for them. I recognise that they are utterly unacceptable and I apologise unreservedly for them. I am also sorry for the harm they have caused, especially to the Jewish community. Since joining the Labour Party, my opinions on many issues have changed and these historic posts reflect ignorant views that I no longer hold. I will be undertaking further awareness training and I look forward to meeting with the Jewish communities of Birmingham to discuss what more we can do to stamp out anti-Semitism in our city. There is no place for racism or discrimination in our society and I remain committed to serving all the people of Small Heath, who put their trust in me at the elections last year.”
It is understood that her apology followed a formal complaint submitted to the Party against her.
A Labour Party spokesman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints seriously. They are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate action is taken.”
The apology also comes as new evidence has been unearthed against three other Labour councillors who have previously been suspended but since reinstated.
According to the JC, Newport councillor Miqdad Al-Nuaimi was suspended in 2017 after allegedly comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”
He was later reinstated. But in May 2021, during the conflict between the antisemitic genocidal terrorist group Hamas and Israel, he reportedly posted on Facebook as Israel and Hamas fought: “Why should we expect there to be no reaction from Hamas? Would the British have been happy to have faced such a blockade by Hitler without throwing everything they had to remove that blockade?”
This year, he is alleged to have shared a petition on Twitter about the controversial rapper Kareem Dennis, known as Lowkey. He claimed that attempts to remove the rapper from the National Union of Students’ centenary conference, which he was headlining, was due to “pressure from the Israel lobby.” Cllr Al-Nuaimi said: “How dare such insidious lobbies give themselves the right to belittle and suppress the right to free speech so blatantly and arrogantly?” He reportedly declined to comment when approached by the JC.
Peterborough councillor Ansar Ali reportedly posted that he was “boycotting the biased BBC” because it “didn’t want to upset the Zionist Israeli government lobby”. He was suspended but reinstated after investigation. The Labour Party is, however, alleged not to have considered other posts that he published, such as one in 2017 linking to an article asking, “How many British MPs are working for Israel,” which he described as “interesting and thought-provoking,” and another from 2016 referencing “Nazi-Zionist collaboration”.
Cllr Labina Basit of Hillingdon has been suspended, but it emerges that she had been suspended back in 2016 as well, having allegedly retweeted a post using the abusive term “Zio”, before being reinstated. The JC has also now reported that she was a leading figure in Labour Against the Witchhunt, a now defunct antisemitism-denial group that was proscribed by Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) last year. In a 2018 Facebook group post, Cllr Basit reportedly wrote: “What we are seeing is the complete and utter weaponisation of antisemitism by the Israeli Lobby, its apologists and neo liberals.”
She also apparently defended the notorious mural and compared Labour antisemitism allegations to the McCarthy hearings. This is in addition to her opposition to the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism and apparent support for Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker and David Miller.
Meanwhile, Lisa Forbes is reportedly running to become Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Peterborough after her brief stint as an MP for the constituency in 2019, despite her deeply problematic past social media activity. Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Rachel Hopkins has released a statement endorsing Ms Forbes, despite her controversial record.
Campaigns are also heating up for the coming elections to Labour’s ruling NEC, with 117 Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs), which represent eighteen percent of the total 650, voting for Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi. She is the Media Officer of Jewish Voice for Labour, an antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, and has previously been suspended from the Labour Party before inexplicably being reinstated. These CLPs conduct votes among their members, which means significant numbers of the most active Labour members across the country are backing her for a place on the NEC.
At the same time as these events are unfolding, Sir Keir Starmer has reportedly told the Party’s local Labour conference that the Party’s victory in the heavily-Jewish borough of Barnet in last month’s local elections is indicative of a growing restoration of trust in the Party by the Jewish community. This is despite an analysis by Campaign Against Antisemitism of the results, which in fact do not support such a conclusion.
The Labour Party was found by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to have engaged in unlawful discrimination and harassment of Jews. The report followed the EHRC’s investigation of the Labour Party in which Campaign Against Antisemitism was the complainant, submitting hundreds of pages of evidence and legal argument. Sir Keir Starmer called the publication of the report a “day of shame” for the Labour Party.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.