Labour councillor Sam Gorst, who branded Jewish MP Luciana Berger a “hideous traitor” and “backstabber” on social media, has responded to the party’s decision to clear him of antisemitism charges by saying he was the victim of a “smear” and that he had been expressing his “ongoing concern of [sic] the heinous crimes of the Israeli government”.
Also under investigation had been Mr Gorst’s defence of Ken Livingstone, whom he said was the subject of an "antisemitism witchhunt", and his decision to share on Twitter someone else's claim that they could not "differentiate between Nazism and Zionism as two criminal regimes”.
Mr Gorst won the Cressington seat on Liverpool City Council by just 70 votes in May.
After Mr Gorst’s victory, and while he was still under investigation, Jeremy Corbyn sent his "warmest congratulations" to the newly elected Labour councillor.
The Labour leader had written: "With every conversation you had on the doorstep, every leaflet you delivered, every call you made, every comment or share on social media, you delivered Labour's message.”
Cllr Sam Gorst has been let off by @UKLabour with no penalty for comparing Jews/Israel/Zionists to Nazis. This is a direct breach of @TheIHRA definition of antisemitism, which Labour CLAIM to have adopted.— GnasherJew גנאשר (@GnasherJew) July 26, 2019
Labour are now deciding for Jews what is antisemitic. pic.twitter.com/jjKq2Vnzoz
Mr Gorst wrote in response to being cleared by the party: “Over the past few months, I have been under investigation by the Labour Party after screen shots were reported from my social media in relation to my support of Palestinian rights and my ongoing concern of the heinous actions of the current Israeli government.
“I am pleased to inform you that my behaviour did not break the Labour Party's rules and that their welcomed and thorough investigation has now concluded.”
He added that he had been “an ambassador and sessional youth worker for the Anthony Walker Foundation, going to Auschwitz-Birkenau, trying to expel ignorance by showing young people what hate can lead to... genocide”.
He said: “This antisemitism smear was also used by my local Liberal Democrat party which was quickly spread around the ward I grew up in and love so much.”