Labour suspends two councillors over social media posts about Israel

Ilyas Aziz

A Labour councillor has been suspended after describing “Zionist Jews” as a “disgrace to humanity” and supporting calls for Israel to be relocated to the US, becoming the party’s second elected politician in a day to face investigation.

The action against Salim Mulla, a Blackburn with Darwen councillor, came just hours after Nottingham City councillor Ilyas Aziz was suspended over his own controversial social media posts about Israel.

The moves come after party leader Jeremy Corbyn insisted Labour is “united” in opposing anti-Semitism in the wake of a turbulent week which has also seen the suspension of MP Naz Shah and former London mayor Ken Livingstone.

The Guido Fawkes website reported that Mulla shared a message suggesting Israel should be relocated to the US — the same post as Shah which led to her apologising in the Commons and having the whip withdrawn.

Another post, from 2014, apparently showed footage of a Palestinian boy being arrested with a comment from Mulla saying: “Apartheid at its best. Zionist Jews are a disgrace to humanity.”

Among Facebook posts from Aziz’s account was the comment: “Jews and Muslims lived together in the Middle East, in peace pre-1948. Perhaps it would have been wiser to create Israel in America it’s big enough. They could relocate even now.”

Aziz claimed he had not written the post from 2014, although it remained on his Facebook page.

Posting a link to an article about Nazi Germany in 2014, he said: “A reminder of the treatment and suffering of Jews in Nazi Germany. Are there any similarities to how Israel is treating Palestinians.”

Asked if he suggested Israel could be relocated and whether he feared he could be suspended as a result — as it was the same suggestion that led to the action against Shah — he said: “I didn’t write that.”

On the comparison with the Nazis, Aziz said: “That one possibly (was) because you make a comparison that it’s wrong, that nobody should be doing that.”

Asked if he thought people who criticised Israeli policy faced being accused of anti-Semitism, he said: “I think you need to be careful.”

Both Aziz and Mulla were suspended shortly after their posts were highlighted on Guido Fawkes, in a sign that Labour is taking a more decisive approach on the issue.


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