The incident took place at an anti-Israel demonstration on 15th May and was organised by the Wolverhampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Cllr Obaida Ahmed was filmed at the event leading the chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which is a phrase widely understood as code for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Also present at the protest was a speaker who claimed that “what the Zionists are doing to Palestine is no different to what Hitler did in Germany. They are Nazis, they are killing the children.”
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of antisemitism.
When subsequently asked about the rally, Cllr Ahmed reportedly said: “I believe in the fundamental right of Israel to exist and for its people to be able to live in peace and security. I also believe the Palestinian people have the right to live in peace and security.”
She added: “I used the slogan in the context of the need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and as a call to end the occupation in Palestine. I understand that for some people it has another meaning and I will be mindful and respectful of this in the future. If we have learned only one thing from the decades of bloodshed and hurt in the Middle East it is that no one will be safe until everyone is safe.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “It is extraordinary that politicians and organisations continue to participate in and sponsor rallies that persistently feature antisemitic tropes. Despite being declared institutionally racist against Jews just six months ago by the EHRC, and notwithstanding the current special measures imposed on the Party to address its unlawful antisemitism, Labour officeholders appear to have learned nothing. Too many have joined antisemitic chants or encouraged, attended and addressed rallies featuring antisemitic banners and chants, contributing to the atmosphere conducive to the rampant antisemitism, physical assaults on Jews and damage to Jewish property that we have seen in recent weeks. Labour has managed to return to square one when it comes to antisemitism.”
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.