A leading government diversity guru has been forced to stand down from his latest role as a director of an NHS trust after the JC highlighted a string of anti-Israel comments he backed on social media.
In a series of posts, Maqsood Ghulam Ahmad, who says he advised the home secretary in the wake of the inquiry into the racist murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence, backed references to Israelis as Zionazis and accusations Labour politicians were in the pay of pro-Israeli lobbyists.
This week Ahmad, who claims he was “responsible for developing equality and human rights policies for the police” at the Home Office, was forced to step down from his role as a non-executive director of an NHS trust after it moved to disassociate itself from his views.
Alerted to a series of controversial posts on a Twitter account linked to his official NHS profile, a spokesperson for Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As soon as we were informed about the comments, we raised them with Maqsood Ahmad and he stepped down from his role on the board with immediate effect.
The trust, which provides mental health and disability services across the region, and where Ahmad has been a board member since December 2021, added: “We condemn his Twitter comments in the strongest possible terms. We have a zero-tolerance approach to any form of prejudice or racism and the views expressed in no way reflect the views or values of our organisation.”
This month Ahmad used his Twitter account to like a post showing a photograph of a soldier pointing a rifle at a group of Palestinians alongside the comment: “Daily abuse of Palestinians in their own country by the forces of the British mandate.
“Now they have to deal with yet another group of European colonisers, the Zionazis. Worse, they believe they have a right to remain.”
He also liked another post that claimed a US ambassador and a Congressman were “ZioNazi”, and backed further claims Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy had been “bought and paid for” by the Israeli lobby
Reposting a list of Labour politicians who received donations from a prominent backer of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), the post claimed: “Lammy is bought and paid for by LFI funding” and was “a committed Zionist as a result”.
In further messages, he said that saying someone was a liberal Zionist was “a bit like saying ‘I’m a liberal Nazi’” and told a US-Jewish advocacy group: “May i suggest you occupy New York and declare that as the only Jewish State in the World and leave Palistine [sic] alone”.
When comedian David Baddiel condemned rapper Kanye West praising Adolf Hitler, Ahmad responded: “Kanye West may be dangerous but not as dangerous as Zionist Government of Isreal [sic] who continue to discriminate and occupy Palistinian [sic] land...”
This month Ahmad, who is also chief executive of The British Muslim Heritage Centre (BMHC), a charity which aims to foster good relations between Muslims and other faith groups, also used the account to repost an animation showing a group of stereotypical hook-nosed Jews spitting on Christians and another depicting a Jewish man with a begging bowl asking, “anything for the oppressed chosen people?”
He had also previously attacked politicians who said Israel had a right to defend itself, liked an image showing people standing on the Israeli flag, said a treaty between the UAE and Israel was “The next step of Greater Isreal [sic] policy” and warned of the “US occupation of Middle East via Greater Isreal [sic]...”
He also retweeted an image of the Statue of Liberty with its eyes covered by Israel’s flag with the caption: “Palestine [sic] isn’t the only country occupied by zionism”.
Next month, the BMHC, the charity Ahmad runs, is set to host anti-Israel activist Pete Gregson, who was expelled by the GMB union in 2019 after claiming Israel was “a racist endeavour” that “exaggerates” the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews “for political ends”.
Alex Hearn, a director of Labour Against Antisemitism, which unearthed the messages, said: “Mr Ahmad has been seemingly hiding in plain sight. Worryingly it seems none of Mr Ahmad’s colleagues noticed his social media feed. It is also concerning that Mr Ahmad has the legitimacy of an OBE and has held senior posts within the medical and anti-racism establishment.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “These comments are horrific. It is staggering to think that someone with these views held such significant positions.”
Naser Mahmood, chair of the BMHC, said Ahmad's “views are not consistent” with those of the organisation which was “reviewing our social media policy for all our staff to ensure that they maintain professionalism and good judgment…”
Ahmad has been approached for comment.