Newham Council has resigned itself to inaction after a suspended Labour councillor has issued an “unreserved apology” after Campaign Against Antisemitism made a complaint about her past social media activity.
Cllr Belgica Guaña wrote to us saying “I would like to say that I totally agree that the package of articles from the Daily Stormer is horrific and I would never knowingly have posted it. The references to the Jewish people and the Holocaust are abhorrent and its Nazi ideology is something I totally reject. I am an international human rights activist and, as an indigenous Latin American, I would actually expect to be persecuted by the Nazis myself.”
With regard to comments that appeared to compare Israel to the Nazis, which would be a breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism, she wrote: “These statements recognised the reality of the Holocaust but I now believe they made a false equivalence as, although I consider the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians to be wrong, it is in no way equivalent to the Nazis extermination of the Jews and this comparison should never be made. I also now believe that my use of the term ‘genocide’ was totally inappropriate to apply to the case of Israel and Palestine. With these statements I was trying to support the case of the Palestinians and was insensitive to the trauma felt by the Jewish people because of the Holocaust.”
She added that “At the time of these posts I was strongly focussed on Latin America and I did not know so much about British and European politics and history. I knew about the Holocaust of course but I have since learned more about the horrific circumstances in which a large part of the Jewish population of Europe was tortured and killed.”
The letter ended with an apology: “I would like to end by offering my unreserved apology to the Jewish people for the hurt and offence caused by any of the articles I shared and the comments I made.”
In view of her apology, the Council’s Director of Legal & Governance and Monitoring Officer told us: “Given her apology and that this matter occurred prior to her being a Councillor, I am minded to close the complaint. I will be encouraging the Councillor to attending equalities training which is part of the Learning and Development programme the Council had devised for all Councillors too.”
Cllr Guaña was suspended hours before the polls opened in the 2022 local elections after it was alleged that she posted a horrific article arguing that “The Germans were completely justified in persecuting and expelling the Jews…just as we would be today.”
Cllr Guaña was also alleged to have posted the article, titled “The Holocaust Hoax and the Jewish Promotion of Perversity”, on Facebook in 2016, two years before she became a councillor in Newham in London.
The article says that “The so-called ‘Holocaust’ is propaganda in an ongoing war between the Jews and those with the courage to stand up to them – a war that began with the National Socialists coming to power in Germany in the 1930s and continues to this very day. The Jews do not have the means or the numbers to defeat Europeans with the force of arms so they have to rely mainly on infiltration, subversion, and economic and psychological warfare, with the Holocaust hoax being the best example of the latter.
“The Germans were completely justified in persecuting and expelling the Jews (which is all that was actually happening), just as we would be today. Hitler and the National Socialists freed Germany from the death grip of the Jews and gave it back to the German people.”
The essay also argues that Jews use pornography to control western societies by way of the “Holocaust hoax”, and pushes the “white genocide” conspiracy theory, as well as claiming that teenage diarist Anne Frank, murdered by the Nazis at Bergen-Belsen, was a “bisexual degenerate” whose popular diary is an “obvious fraud…laced with pornographic and sexually subversive messages”.
In May 2016, Cllr Guaña reportedly shared a post that said that “The Nazi holocaust [sic] was a crime against humanity, and the Israeli Genocide against Palestinians can not be ignored or denied,” and in December 2017, Cllr Guaña is said to have shared a video of the United Nations General Assembly, writing: “If you can have a minute of silence for the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust. So how much time should I ask for the more than 50 years of invasion and oppression of the Palestinian people?” Both posts are further breaches of the International Definition of Antisemitism.
The posts were uncovered by Labour Against Antisemitism and reported by the JC. Campaign Against Antisemitism went on to report Cllr Guaña to the police, as well as to Newham Council.
Until recently, it appeared that Cllr Guaña was still listed as a member of the Labour Group on Newham Council. She is now, however, listed as an Independent.
The Labour group at Newham Council has repeatedly been the subject of controversy in relation to antisemitism allegations. In 2020, a leaked report reportedly detailed a complaint by the Council’s only Jewish member about a “culture of accepted antisemitism”, and then last year the Chair of Labour in Newham was reportedly to be investigated over alleged antisemitism, just days after his deputy was suspended over alleged antisemitic social media activity.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews more than four times likelier to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.