Two revelations leave Labour with a “vetting crisis” that is endangering party leader Sir Kair Starmer’s efforts to regain the Jewish community’s trust.
By Pesach Benson, United With Israel
The UK Labour party suspended the membership of a local councilor who described an Islamic State killer as a “beautiful young man,” the Jewish Chronicle reported on Tuesday.
The report comes on the heels of another Labour councilor’s suspension amid revelations of antisemitic social media posts about Israel.
The two revelations coming one after another leave Labour with what the JC described as a “vetting crisis” that is endangering party leader Sir Kair Starmer’s efforts to regain the Jewish community’s trust.
The first suspension was given last week to Ansar Hussein who represents the Wolverton ward on the Milton Keynes city council. An activist known on Twitter as GnasherJew exposed a number of Hussein’s antisemitic Tweets about Israel.
One especially toxic article which Hussein shared in 2015 was called “30 Little-Known Facts About Israel.”
The article falsely claimed, among other things, that Israeli license plates are color-coded to distinguish between Jews and non-Jews, that the late Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef advocated a “Final Solution” to “annihilate Palestinians,” and that Jews are digging tunnels beneath the Temple Mount to undermine the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
Other tweets claimed that Islamic State was a secret intelligence service operating for Israel and that Israel was conspiratorially stoking conflict between India and Pakistan.
The second suspended Labour personality is Ibrahim Ali, who recently won a seat on the council of the London borough of Haringey. Ali previously served as communications officer for CAGE, a Muslim advocacy organization.
In 2015, Ali was testifying to a House of Commons committee when lawmakers asked him about “the notorious claim by the [CAGE’s] research director, Asim Qureshi, that Jihadi John – real name Mohammed Emwazi – was a ‘beautiful young man,’ despite being shown in ISIS videos beheading hostages with a serrated knife,” the JC reported.
“Mr. Ali defended Mr. Qureshi’s claim, pointing out that Emwazi’s schoolteachers had described him as ‘hard working, a lovely boy,’ and a ‘very hard working aspirational young man.’ He said that Mr. Qureshi’s comments did not refer to ‘the person he became and the acts he committed.'”
Emwazi was killed in a 2015 U.S. drone strike in Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold in northern Syria.
Labour suspended Jeremy Corbyn, its previous leader in 2020. The UK Equality and Human Rights Commission found “significant failings” and a “lack of leadership” in how the left-of-center party handled antisemitism among its members.
The equality commission also said there was “evidence of political interference in the handling of anti-Semitism complaints” by the party leader’s office, and that the interference was unlawful.
A January poll found that over 90 percent of the members of the Jewish Labour Movement believe Starmer is serious about purging antisemitism within the party.