Calls for Labour to expel candidate Salma Yaqoob, who shared article on 'Rothschild bankers'

The former Respect party leader also called Israelis 'European colonisers' and said of Israel: 'No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, a pig is still a pig'


The Board of Deputies has urged Labour to “immediately” expel one of its prospective candidates for the West Midlands mayoralty, after she was found to have repeated comments about “Rothschild bankers” and described Israelis as “European colonisers”.

Salma Yaqoob, a founder and former leader of the far-left Respect Party, was allowed to join Labour four months ago, despite running a notorious campaign in the 2017 general election against a Labour MP, Naz Shah.

A video of Ms Yaqoob speaking at an anti-Israel rally in May has also resurfaced, showing her telling a crowd that Israelis should not host the Eurovision Song Contest because “for years have pretended to be Europeans. The only link is they’re European colonisers.”

She said of Israel: “No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, a pig is still a pig”.

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl called Ms Yaqoob’s claim that Israelis are European colonisers “a calculated insult to the thousands who fled to Israel having survived the Holocaust and the hundreds of thousands more who arrived in Israel having been persecuted by Arab states.”

Mrs Van der Zyl added that “no-one who refers to Jews as ‘pigs’ could possibly considered for high office by any reputable party.

“Labour must withdraw her from the shortlist for West Midlands Mayor and expel her immediately.”

Ms Yaqoob was also found to have tweeted an article in 2013 describing “ten Rothschild bankers” being arrested in Iceland.

The article in question, which did not name any of the bankers, also described Sigurdur Einarsson, head of the bankrupt Icelandic bank Kaupthing, as a “Rothschild banker”, though he has never worked for the Rothschild firm.

The idea that the Rothschild family is in control of global finance and corruption has been an antisemitic trope for two centuries.

This week a number of tweets referencing Zionists were removed from Ms Yaqoob’s account.

In one, she responded to a person: “you say you are a ‘proud Zionist British expat living in Israel’ – why am I not surprised at your support of state terrorism?”

In another tweet, she described the “heartlessness” of “Zionist supporters.”

After Ken Livingstone was accused of antisemitism for saying  “Hitler was supporting Zionism before he went mad”, she defended him, tweeting that the accusation Mr Livingstone was antisemitic was just “Zionist smears.”

Ms Yaqoob is vying to be the party's candidate in the West Midlands despite new members of Labour usually having to wait for two years before being allowed to stand.

She has received support from a number of high-profile Labour activists, including Jon Lansman, the head of Momentum, and Owen Jones, the Guardian journliast and activist.

Other prominent Labour figures, including Naz Shah herself, have spoken out against Ms Yaqoob’s candidacy.

In a video released by the Bradford West MP, she described how how the campaign Ms Yaqoob ran against her two years ago had driven her “to feel suicidal”.

Ms Yaqoob has also been accused by the LGBT+ group within the Parliamentary Labour Party of "having form when it comes to homophobia and sharing a platform with this who propagate it", giving a list of examples.

She responded by calling the accusations "false or seriously misleading."

Labour has been contacted for comment.

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