Campaign Against Antisemitism investigators have discovered antisemitic tweets by close associates of suspended Labour MP Naz Shah, who resigned as Parliamentary Secretary to John McDonnell before the Labour Party bowed to pressure to expel her. We continue to call for Shah to be expelled and removed from the Home Affairs Select Committee which is about to hold an inquiry into antisemitism.
We have now found antisemitic tweets by Bradford Councillors Ishtiaq Ahmed and Mohammed Shabbir, both of whom work closely with Naz Shah and, in addition to being Councillors, are employed by a charity that she chaired.
Councillor Istiaq Ahmed
Councillor Ahmed tweeted a link to Nazi film, “The Eternal Jew” on 10th May, 2014. The film was commissioned by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels with the purpose of winning public support for antisemitic violence. The opening segment, posted by Councillor Ahmed from the “HitlerMyFührer” Youtube channel, begins “One of the most illuminating customs of the Jews’ so-called religion, is the slaughter of animals…” He has also posted an Israel conspiracy theory video alleging that Israel is behind the Islamic State and caused the Iraq War.
Councillor Ahmed was originally a Councillor for George Galloway’s Respect Party in Bradford’s Manningham Ward. In 2013, Respect suspended him and he remained in office as an independent councillor. He is stepping down at May’s Bradford Council elections. He has said that he has rejoined the Labour Party and is backing Labour’s candidate for Manningham Ward, Sarfraz Nazir.
Councillor Ahmed is employed by the Sharing Voices charity, which Labour MP Naz Shah chaired.
Councillor Mohammed Shabbir
Councillor Mohammed Shabbir repeatedly tweeted the antisemitic conspiracy theory that a conspiracy led by the Jewish state created ISIS. On 24th July 2014 he tweeted: “I find isis vile and repulsive as much as Zionism. Don’t forget baghdadi trained by mossad.” On 8th August, 2014, he tweeted: “Here is a question. Is #isis serving a purpose to create a pretext for Israel to invade Syria and Iraq. Has quest for greater Israel started”.
Shabbir routinely uses the antisemitic epithet “Zio” and accuses Jews of “playing the Holocaust card”. Political blog Guido Fawkes has also found a tweet in which he wrote: “Every Palestinian who survives the ongoing genocide in Gaza is a holocaust survivor”.
According to Shabbir, there might be a “Zionist lobby in the press”. He has even claimed that the BBC is run by a “BBC Hasbara Media Cartel”. Hasbara is a Hebrew word meaning “to explain” and in this context alleges a conspiracy to influence the media.
In addition to his role as Labour Councillor for Heaton Ward in Bradford, Shabbir is also Chief Executive of Sharing Voices, a mental health charity which Labour MP Naz Shah chaired.
Shabbir’s political stance is that Israel has no right to exist, which is antisemitic according to the EUMC definition of antisemitism. On 30th July 2014, he tweeted that “Zionism has usurped Judaism” and that “the Occupation started in 1948”. That is the year that Israeli statehood was recognised. He goes on to quote that “resistance is only there because of occupation”. This logic effectively justifies terrorism against the only Jewish State until it ceases to exist.
It seems that Naz Shah is not alone in holding disturbing views about Jews and the Jewish state. Indeed she has employed and worked closely with people with similar views. It is entirely possible that we are beginning to expose yet another nest of antisemites in the Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn must admit that his party has a problem and deal firmly with it. We see no sign of that.
Jeremy Corbyn did his best to excuse Naz Shah but has finally bowed to pressure to suspend her. This makes a mockery of his promise to fight antisemitism in his party. Zero tolerance is all or nothing. We now have a bizarre situation in which Shah is suspended but still sitting as a Labour representative on a Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry into antisemitism. Jeremy Corbyn must sort this out, and also address the festering issue of Sir Gerald Kaufman, who made antisemitic comments in October last year in the presence of the Shadow Minister for Justice and has yet to have any action whatsoever taken against him.